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What games did you complete in 2015?


SeanR
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14/07/2015 - Gears of War: Judgement (X360)

Excellent little game, really enjoyed that. It essentially distilled the main GoW experience into a more tightly focussed game; you went into a combat arena, finished it and that was the level done. It never outstayed its welcome, the story was actually quite well done (I liked the idea of the declassified challenges too) and the bonus 'Aftermath' campaign slotted well into the main story. And I always liked Baird.

Good game, would be happy to see another offshoot in this style down the line.

Previously completed


27/06/15 - The Witcher (PC)
20/03/15 - Dead Effect (PC)
01/03/15 - Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, Episode 2 (PC)
22/02/15 - Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC)
07/02/15 - Arcania: Gothic 4 (X360)
03/02/15 - Demonicon (PC)
31/01/15 - Bioshock Infinite - Burial At Sea, Part 1 (PC)
27/01/15 - The Walking Dead - 400 Days (PC)
26/01/15 - Mars: War Logs (X360)
22/01/15 - Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek (PC)
04/01/15 - Bioshock Infinite (PC)

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14/07/2015 - Bound By Flame (PC)

2 games completed in a day? Oh, ok then.

This was a good old-fashioned Western ARPG, but it was surprisingly not janky. It was fairly well voiced, the story was relatively interesting (though it lost it a bit near the end) and there was a heft to the combat. The downsides were that it was harmed by a pretty rudimentary skill-tree, minor inventory management (other than a couple of ingredients from a shop early in the game, I never bought another single item from a shop; all the weapons and equipment in the game - and there isn't much - are found on your travels.) And the variety of AI companions didn't really do much at all (though one had the ability to heal, which was useful at times.)

There were some painful difficulty spikes, too, and the whole thing rather ran out of steam somewhat in the last act and a half, but overall it was competent, if not noteworthy.

Previously completed

14/07/15 - Gears of War: Judgement (X360)

27/06/15 - The Witcher (PC)
20/03/15 - Dead Effect (PC)
01/03/15 - Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, Episode 2 (PC)
22/02/15 - Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC)
07/02/15 - Arcania: Gothic 4 (X360)
03/02/15 - Demonicon (PC)
31/01/15 - Bioshock Infinite - Burial At Sea, Part 1 (PC)
27/01/15 - The Walking Dead - 400 Days (PC)
26/01/15 - Mars: War Logs (X360)
22/01/15 - Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek (PC)
04/01/15 - Bioshock Infinite (PC)

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I'm on a proper roll.

Tales from Space: Mutant Blobs Attack (Vita) Pretty fun if fairly simple platformer, started out getting gold on all levels and both the hidden blobs and so on but from about halfway through and onwards that was getting so frustrating that I stopped bothering. It was times like where you're in a wind tunnel and get sent flying past somewhere you knew there was a blob or items to hoover up but you'd not held the right direction in time so you'd have to restart. But it was quite far through the level and when you get to that bit you muck it up again. Gah! Easy to plough through regardless, although I think I kind of missed the feeling of satisfaction of gold medalling each one. Next!

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I'm drawing a line under Destiny for the time being. Time to play something else, I reckon.

Edit: Played some stuff on my phone for the first time in about a year. Badlands and 80 Days.

Edit II: Sine Mora on Vita also.

2015

18/07 - Sine Mora (Vita) - Stupendously attractive for a handheld game and with some neat systems built around time limits and manipulation. Not the greatest schmup I've played but a surprisingly lavish one in this day and age. Weirdly pretentious story filler, though.

17/07 - Badland (Android) - The whole 'tap to flap/float/whatever' genre leaves me pretty cold to be honest. This has some nice ideas but like with Jetpack Joyride and others I got bored quickly. Presntation is weirdly dull and distant in a way I found unengaging, too.

17/07 - 80 Days (Android) - I did two runs through in a single sitting, which probably tells you how much I enjoyed it. Well written, unique choose-your-own-adventure game with some lovely sound design.

16/07 - Destiny (PS4) - I bought the base game and the two expansions together and it's a damn good game, Destiny, with probably the best feel of any shooter I've played. Everything about the experience is super slick, evocative and utterly intoxicating. The feel of controlling a sparrow or firing a hand cannon into a Fallen's face is so, so perfect it's hard to describe. There's not enough of it, though, and the manipulative stuff they've used to keep you playing is pretty sinister in its potency. I've never been one to get lured in by the promise of random loot drops, but this was starting to get its claws into me in a way that I find concerning, so we're done (for now...)

10/07 - Entwined (PS4) - Pretentious nonsense attempting to mimic thatgamecompany and falling flat in every way. Nasty new age rubbish with a single dull mechanic and unpleasant free-flight controls that it obviously considers a 'reward' at the end of each level.

19/06 - Never Alone (PS4) - A worthy enough idea, combining the indie game and the documentary, but neither side is particularly satisfactory in and of itself. A cumbersome platformer with occasionally stubborn movement and few interesting ideas doesn't particularly inspire me to learn about a culture. Looks really nice, though.

19/06 - Dead Nation (PS4) - Solid twin-stick shooter with a solid arsenal of weapons and enough variety to keep things fresh. Still looks very PS3 in its visuals but the lighting is nice enough. Not sure why they even bothered with the story, though.

17/06 - Shadow Warrior (PS4) - Ridiculous 90s mega-carnage sprint-everywhere fuck-em-up. A genuinely brilliant update of an old classic and shows how Duke Nukem should've been done. Garish in a charming way and occasionally quite pretty, with a daft, funny script and varied, powerful set of weapons. Didn't like it when I'd accidentally dash down some stairs and kill myself from fall damage, but that's my own fault. Ending goes on forever, too.

15/06 - Costume Quest 2 (PS4) - It's barely more involving than the first in terms of the battle system and quests, and there's too much back-tracking and fetch-questing for such a short game, but there's so much to love about Costume Quest. Funny little script, a cute premise about a dental hygeine dystopia in which candy is illegal make it a winner for me.

13/06 - Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4) - Man, I loved this. Somehow manages to be both funny and poignant at the same time as brutal and dumb. Both stealth and boom-bang approaches are satisfying and the whole 'kill the commander' system is inspired. Sound mix is a bit off and recharging the energy weapons is tiresome, but there's just moment after moment of brilliance in this.

11/06 - The Swapper (Vita/PS4) - Enjoyed the look and feel of this but had to give it up after a point. Puzzles were wrecking my head and cheating didn't sound like much fun, so it's done with for now. Really nce atmosphere, though.

09/06 - Resogun (Vita/PS4) - Played this across both formats. Furiously addictive and visually astonishing. Holds up surprisingly well on the Vita, and only really loses the whizzy effects.

08/06 - Futuridium EP (Vita) - Shit, boring concept that should never have made it past the demo stage. Gave it half an hour.

08/06 - The Binding of Isaac Rebirth (Vita) - It was great on PC and it's still great. The new art style is nice but doesn't blow me away or anything, but the music is pretty sweet.

08/06 - Modnation Racers (Vita) - Horrendously ugly and the frame rate is so bad it's like looking at a zoetrope. Dull races that have no sense of urgency or thrill.

08/06 - Titan Attacks! (Vita) - Dull, ugly 'update' of Space Invaders that no one asked for or needed in a post-Space Invaders Extreme world. Pointless.

07/06 - Kick & Fennick (Vita) - Ugly game in terms of art style and visually monotonous, but I like the core concept of using recoil to bounce around. Good little game.

07/06 - Monster Bag (Vita) - One of those games that probably only exists because Sony need to fund quick little games to throw on PS+ every month, and one that has very few mechanical ideas, but it's nicely presented and makes the most of its core concept.

06/06 - Murasaki Baby (Vita) - Some of the touch controls don't work too well and the spooky-wooky Tim Burton style does nothing for me, but I enjoyed some of the novelty of this. Doesn't run its ideas into the ground and left me satisfied enough.

06/06 - Race the Sun (Vita) - Boring as hell endless....flyer? I dunno how people play this shit. Has that flat shaded polygonal style that's back in vogue for indie games but does nothing interesting with it.

06/06 - Killzone Mercenary (Vita) - Shouldn't really work on a handheld, and the sticks struggle a bit with aiming and turning in general, but this is somehow the most enjoyable Killzone of the lot. Neat little bursts of shooty brutality. Gets a bit flickery with the frame-rate but it's an impressive technical feat.

04/06 - Battlefield 4 (PS4) - Indistinguishable from every other military FPS campaign I've played in the last however-many years. Sound and visuals are super impressive but that's about it, really. The whole plot is baffling and vaguely offensive at times, and I have to wish they wouldn't keep wasting resources on this stuff. I'll keep playing the multiplayer until the next one is out, mind.

03/06 - Alien Isolation: Crew Expendable/Last Survivor DLC (PS4) - Slight and adds nothing new to the actual gameplay, but there's a thrill and novelty in the attempt to render the latter half of the movie in game form. Worth the few quid I paid for it.

03/06 - Counterspy (PS4) - Neat Saul Bass-ish visuals and twangy soundtrack for a game with an interesting Xcom-lite structure and fun action platforming. Enjoyed pretty much everything about this, so will have a few runs more on the Vita version whilst I'm on holiday next week.

03/06 - Aaru's Awakening (PS4) - Has a beautiful hand-animated style that really deserves to be seen and....little else. Awkward controls, poor level design and annoying bosses. There are some neat ideas with the teleporting but it's badly implemented. made it as far as the last boss (I think) and gave up. Life's too short.

03/06 - Tower of Guns (PS4) - Yeah, I didn't finish this either, but I did play long enough to work out what it is. FPS rougue-like level-up blah blah blah. It's pretty boring, really, though there's something about its rough N64 look that I quite like, for some reason.

03/06 - Secret Ponchos (PS4) - Was interested in this but couldn't find anyone to actually play against. It's dead, I guess.

02/06 - Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS4) - I never would've bought this, being a non-SNK/Capcom 2D fighter themed around a universe I care nothing about, but it was surprisingly fun. I only played through the story mode, though, having no desire to master it enough to play online. It's charmingly daft and the cutscenes are awful but I've wasted my time on worse.

02/06 -Valiant Hearts - The Great War (PS4) - Tonally this veers all over the place, unable to decide if it's some slapstick steampunk lark or a grim, sober retelling of historical facts. The art style is nice but I found it jarred badly with the photos of really facial disfiguration and bodies in the menus, and the bloodless presentation and timid storytelling often came across as dishonest. There's a serviceable but dull adventure puzzle game underneath it all, but that's faint praise.

29/05 - Transistor (PS4) - Loved pretty much everything about this, from its art nouveau/deco/cyberpunk hybrid art style and loungey electronic score, through to the well-realised, unique battle system. Found it utterly captivating to the point that I played it in two sittings, and I wasn't massively taken by Bastion. Highly recommended.

27/05 - Strider (PS4) - One of those games that just has the sheer joy of interaction and motion to it. Cartwheeling over some dudes and unleashing a barrage of swooshy sword attacks never gets old. The metroidvania stuff is very light and they don't even bother with a plot as such (probably for the best), but for half an hour every few nights this was golden. Music was a bit underwhelming, though.

26/05 - Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare (PS4) - Wonderfully well crafted. I bombed hours into this without blinking, it was so bloody compelling. This is that rarity in online gaming in that I rarely felt cheated or frustrated by other players, so it's shame that people only play a handful of modes, then, as they all seem fun in their own way.

26/05 - Pix the Cat (PS4) - Colourfully presented in an effort to convince you it's fun. It isn't, though, unless you like memorising routes and repeating them from scratch each time you make a slight error in order to have the chance of a decent high score, which is the focus of the entire game. Played for about two hours and it barely deserved that.

18/05 - Infamous: Second Son (PS4) - It's basically Prototype or Saints Row IV but not as fun and more repetitive. All the powers are much the same and I barely bothered with the side missions because Sucker Punch had barely bothered to put any effort into them. It is stupidly pretty, though, and I enjoyed faffing about with the photo mode, so at least it taxed the PS4 a bit.

18/05 - The Unfinished Swan (PS4) - A highly attractive game, but one that wasn't what I expected. I thought it'd be an austere, visually-coherent artsy affair, but it was another one of those twee, storybook-indie games with awful narration like Trine or Brothers or whatever. I don't understand who it's aimed at. Most kids will find the wandering around slow and boring, and adults will likely find the whole thing pretty simplistic. Eh.

10/05 - Alien Isolation (PS4) - It's so damn good. A perfect retro futuristic recreation of the original film, intense stealth mechanics and an epic journey. Rudi pretty much nailed it with his big post in the GOTY thread, so...errr, what he said.

09/05 - Hohokum (PS4) - My first PS4 game finished, if for no reason other than it was quick to download and pretty short. Enjoyed it, even though it has a complete lack of variety in its interactions. It has a tactile, sensory quality that makes it more like playing a picture book than anything. Lovely soundtrack, too.

01/05 - R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (PS1/VitaTV) - This is about a million times better than most contemporary arcade racers if only for the soundtrack. The fact that you don't so much race as glide elegantly through the courses only makes it all the more special.

30/04 - Splinter Cell (PS3) - In terms of the actual stealthing it was probably the best of the generation, but that isn't saying too much, as it still relies way too much on flawless, easy to execute takedowns and other magic powers, It's the Ubisoft nonsense that hurts the game most, though. UI-mania, a million side missions and unlocks, obnoxious characters talking in a baffling military jargon that so many games seem to fetishise in their scripts these days. It's a tasteless contemporary action game gruel.

27/04 - God of War: Ascension (PS3) - Pretty much by-the-numbers God of War, but with some subtle changes that make QTEs and powers more enjoyable in use. There's some horribly embarrassing stuff around the portrayal of women and the tone continues to be very one note, but I found this a more satisfying playthrough than the last game.

24/04 - Gears of War: Judgement (360) - Makes some sensible changes to the controls and adds some nifty modifiers for those of us that have been playing Gears for years, but fails to wow in any real sense. Looks stunning at times but far too many levels take place in small indoor locations, the four players cramped together. The focus on Horde-esque waves in the campaign and move away from turret sequences of sheer spectacle and frustration is much appreciated, though. AI seemed much better than in 3, too.

21/04 - Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3) - It's so bloody good. Handling is pitched just right, the difficulty curve masterfully implemented and the races are not only fair and legible but also stupidly, chaotically thrilling (something that most arcade racers of the last few years have struggled to balance). The soundtrack is awful shite but there's a custom soundtrack option and the game isn't full of the kind of obnoxious lifestyle bro-dude shit that Forza Horizon suffers from, so it wins the open world arcade racer title for the last gen.

18/04 - Dead Space 3 (PS3) - A lavishly attractive but disappointing end to a series that started incredibly, diluted by the sad compromises that came with each iteration. Dead Space didn't need human enemies, co-op or weird on-rails Space Harrier flying sections, but to the detriment of what made the game special, it got them. There's still some of that tense, cosmic-industrial body horror in places (the ruined flotilla) but there are also near-endless waves of enemies that rush at you, flailing about, putting a stop to the dismemberment combat that set the series apart. Oh, and a potentially great crafting system made too finnicky and costly in a push to sell DLC, so that I made about four guns during my entire playthrough. The ending is laughable garbage, too, but it does look and sound absolutely marvellous in the main, so that's something.

14/04 - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS3) - It's kinda hard to defend the decision to sell a vertical slice of an upcoming game for twenty quid, no matter how replayable it might be. This should've been the intro to The Phantom Pain. It is bloody great, though, and refines many of the things Metal Gear has attempted over the years, to the point that I'm worryingly excited about the main game. Eeeek.

09/04 - Motorstorm Apocalypse (PS3)- Fun things: Destruction-filled speedy arcade racers with lots of vehicles on the track of different shapes and sizes and wooshy weather effects. Fucking annoying things: Clipping some debris you couldn't reasonably be expected to avoid, crashing out, respawning right in front of a wall so that you crash out again, respawning, then having fourteen other drivers smash into you. There's a game almost as good as Split/Second in here but it's difficult to see it sometimes.

07/04 - Resistance 3 (PS3) - A patchwork of ideas from better games, with no deeper, core mechanic tying everything together. It's unmemorable to say the least. Story is corny and it seems a shame to go the post-WWII alien invasion route and then smear everything in brown, dim lighting, but whatever. It's also startlingly low-res, which isn't something I tend to notice too much. Guns are fun enough, though, and it's mindless in an enjoyably '90s kinda way.

06/04 - The Walking Dead Season 2 (PS3) - I get the feeling the writers settled on having Clem as the protagonist before really figuring out how it would work. Too often the adults around her are asking her to resolve problems that I find difficult to imagine a child understanding. It's kinda uncomfortable in places, like when she's blamed for someone's death unfairly. and not in a way that seems intentional. Episodes feel shorter and even less interactive than before, too.

02/04 - The Last of Us (PS3) - I've not really thought too much of Naughty Dogs games, generally, but found this frighteningly absorbing. It's not the deepest thing mechanically, but it is coherent and balanced in its combat in a way that makes every encounter thrilling. Everything to be said about characters and plot is said better elsewhere, but I'll say that the pacing of plot and the ebb and flow of suspense and relief was just about perfect. Probably my favourite third person action-adventure since Resi 4.

13/03 - Guardian Heroes (360) - It's still the greatest of its kind by a long way. Everything about it just has that Treasure magic, from music and animation to, well, everything. The remix mode makes some decent changes, though I couldn't bring myself to use the nasty sprite filter they included. Was lovely revisiting this, though.

12/03 - The Cave (360) - Nice enough adventure-puzzle-platforming thing. The actual puzzles are enjoyable in a simplistic way, and flirt with adventure game logic without too much of the illogical nonsense of old. It's very underwhelming in terms of presentation and writing, though, given the heritage.

10/03 - Catherine (360) - Captivating to the the extent that it surprised me. The narrowed scope on one guy's commitment anxiety and its crazed manifestations plays really well given the initially bizarre combo of chat and block puzzling. The only real criticisms I have are that it needed a better training mode to practice the 'techniques' and the controls can be pretty awkward. Really solid dub as well for the English version and it looks neatly stylish.

09/03 - Papo & Yo (PS3) - A game of measured, clear puzzles and platforming in an interesting little world. I'm always happy when developers play around with abstractions of the game space, so this kept me pretty happy throughout. The ending is a little over-egged but I appreciate the more personal nature of the story than what we usually get. Another little treat from PS+.

06/03 - Thief (PS3) - You can see that they wanted to take some of the template of Human Revolution and apply it to another old PC series, but it doesn't work here. There are neat little ideas and systems but they don't come together in a coherent whole. Though the stealth is often satisfying in a simplistic way, the actual thievery boils down to cupboard searching in most instances and the AI isn't much fun to play about with. There are also loads of naff horror-ish 'visions' as well, which are pretty much the lamest things in AAA games of late. That said, it looks pretty nice even on PS3, and they did a good job of making you feel like someone with a body, rather than just arms floating around in front of the camera.

03/03 - LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3) - Played through the story mode and tried some of the more popular community levels. The story is more a demo of the potential of the level editor, though it's craftily inventive at times. The cumbersome control you have over Sackboy is still present, which is a shame, but it's an enjoyable, ambitious game.

02/03 - Here and There Along The Echo (PC) - A kind of radio play interlude to Kentucky Route Zero, featuring a phone that only dials one number. Gently, weirdly comic and enjoyable tactile to play around with. Will Oldham does the voice acting, which is just perfect, really.

02/03 - Killzone 3 (PS3) - The whole 'genocide LOL' thing is a bit weird and the Space Zyklon gun that makes people explode is never explained at all, but I enjoyed the story of this in a dumb, almost Warhammer 40k kinda way. Actual gunplay is still brutal, heavy and lacking in any kind of depth or finesse, but the game throws enough variety in the way to keep things interesting for a few hours. It does feel like Guerilla are coasting, though.

28/02 - Dead Island (360) - Couldn't bring myself to finish the last few quests, but I'm counting it anyway. Occasionally dreadful atmosphere (in a good way), a laudable variety of environments and meaty melee combat can't disguise the fact that the actual gameplay doesn't change at all throughout the game. There's no development and it lacks a compelling enough feedback loop or plot to pull me through. It's just hitting guys the same way until they fall over.

25/02 - The Wolf Among Us Season 1 (360) - Restarted the whole thing after pausing mid-season about a year ago. Really enjoyed it for what is was; a fun noir with a cute premise. Didn't reach the emotionally engaging heights of The Walking Dead but it did keep me pretty gripped throughout. Optimistic for the next season.

25/02 - SSX (360) - Not finished at all, as I couldn't be bothered to put more than a few hours in. Hated it. Try hard extreme-bro presentation, naff cutscenes and utterly charmless characters. Loathsome, wooly controls and difficult to read slopes that seem throw you off the side to your doom with little warning. Nothing of the joyful arcadey flow of the old games. Urgh.

23/02 - TxK (Vita) - Played sporadically over the last few months. It's lovely to behold and clearly well crafted, but just didn't hook me like I thought it would. Something missing, I guess.

23/02 - Tearaway (Vita) - Marvellous. Just relentlessly throws ideas in front of you, lets you mess around a bit and then moves onto the next lot. It's a perfect demonstration of what creative teams could be doing with the console given the chance. Presentation is sometimes a bit twee ukulele bollocks but never too irritating.

22/02 - Super Stardust Delta (Vita) - Ports the experience well to the handheld, though I had to avoid the touch and motion controls where possible (at least they included the option). Much the same as the PS3 version, really, but that's no bad thing.

20/02 - Luftrausers (Vita) - Thrilling, smart and sharp little blasts of aerial action, using a construction sets of pixel ship parts and a lovely sense of 2D flight. Totally thrilling when you scrape through an intense battle, taking out blimps and battleships in a arc of carnage.

18/02 - Surge Deluxe (Vita) - Tries to use the Vita well and is nicely presented, but this block puzzler completely fails to raise the intensity or the pulse. It's boring more than anything, sadly.

16/02 - Woah Dave (Vita) - Dull, below par Super Crate Box kinda thing that held my attention for less than an hour. Finished as I've seen everything it can do.

16/02 - Wipeout 2048 (Vita) - Mind-bogglingly beautiful, refined future racing with a sensible structure for the handheld. I played this for about ten hours straight on a sleeper train/plane combo across China. If it's the last Wipeout it'll be a fitting farewell.

14/02 - DmC: Vergil's Downfall - Kinda rote DLC, really. Cheap looking animated cut scenes and a naff script don't help, and there's little new added at all. Disappointing.

13/02 - Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet - Fun little twin-stick, kinda light Metroidvania thing that I found surprisingly atmospheric. Really nice sound design throughout. Communicates everything wordlessly yet clearly and when it runs out of ideas it ends neatly.

12/02 - Dragon's Dogma (PS3) - Bombed fifty hours into this in ten days, which is unheard of for me these days. Adored it. There are minor annoyances, but the adventuring and combat is so damn thrilling throughout. Some will find it bland but I found the art style and world to be of a kinda fundamental fantasy that I find appealing in its simplicity.

02/02 - Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episodes 1 & 2 (PS3) - The first episode was too predictable and similar to the main games to be of much note, but I enjoyed the second's foray into stealth, something which Infinite-proper had flirted with briefly and abandoned. Story-wise it seemed too desperate to tie up the loose ends in a Lucas-prequel kinda way, but nothing that caused any major damage in my opinion.

22/01 - DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3) - A divisive game, but one that I felt elegantly adapted the combat and controls of previous games, layered on some genuinely arresting visuals and a plot that was silly in a way that remained interesting. Probably too easy on the default setting but I really, really enjoyed this.

20/01 - Saints Row IV (360) - Hated the opening few hours of this, due mostly to the weak training exercises disguised as missions that have you backtracking repeatedly. It's clearly padded-out DLC throughout, but there's enough of the Prototype-ish chaos to entertain in the most part, and the main quest missions are consistently fun.

15/01 - Crysis 3 (PS3) - Played the second, more linear, game a while back. This one attempts to be a bit more open and succeeds in places, but really funnels you through others. Plot and some of the later environments are hackneyed nonsense, but the bow is fun.

13/01 - Crysis (360) - Lovely open environments in which to piss about, with a thin enough story to keep things ticking along without being a nuisance and a solid set of skills and weapons. Good stuff. Enemies are hawk-eyed little shits, though, able to spot you from a mile off.

2014

October 24th: Borderlands 2 (360) - Really loved this, even playing it solo throughout. I found the original a little undercooked, a little repetitive, but this one just kept throwing fun in front of the player constantly. Some of the quests are blatant padding, the vehicle handling is pretty horrible and once again I could do without the nerdy 'reference' humour, but generally found this really compelling.

October 10th: Heavy Rain (PS3) - I actually really enjoyed the first half of Beyond: Two Souls until it flew off the rails. This one goes the opposite way and does its best to recover from an abysmal, embarrassing opening. I can see what this was trying to do and I'm actually quite keen to see how these narrative experience evolve, but I found most of this poorly written, directed and generally quite boring.

October 3rd: Joe Danger (Vita) - Has a nice, tactile, compulsive feel to it. Shame it only really presents a challenge when going for the pro medals. Individual standard medal challenges just feel like going through the motions, and the scoring system feels too easy to exploit.

September 30th: Frobisher Says (Vita) - Been dabbling with this and the DLC since getting a Vita and it's fun enough for what it is. Basic Warioware-style micro-games that use the Vita's various functions.

September 28th: Resident Evil 6 (PS3) - An absolute mess of a game, but I still managed to get through every campaign. Not sure why, really, other than that I used to adore Resident Evil games. So many poorly implemented and pointless excursions into QTE setpiece nonsense. Capcom need to take a long hard look at what made this series enjoyable, because they've lost their way. Reminds me of Lost Planet 2's bloat and general inability to execute its ideas in anything other than a frustrating, awkward fashion.

September 24th: Puppeteer (PS3) Reminded me a lot of Dynamite Headdy. A solid, enjoyable and lovingly presented game. It's well behind recent Rayman games and Nintendo's stuff in terms of pure platforming, but all the mechanics tie together pretty well. Shame the head-swapping gimmick is really superficial.

September 24th: Proteus (PS3) - Was wandering around, finding this nice enough but a bit underwhelming and then it suddenly started to give me the damn shivers. Weirdly atmospheric in a way that's hard to describe, so I won't.

September 21st: Grand Theft Auto V (PS3) - Nothing to say that hasn't been said a million times. It's the sheer detail and craftmanship of it that impresses, really. It's still struggling with the controls and I wish you could grab people/objects and have more physical interactions with the world, but it never felt truly lacking. Worth the money just for the radio stations, if you ask me. Online refuses to work here in China, unlike most PSN stuff, which is a shame.

August 1st: God of War III (PS3) - Aside from a few spectacular, stand-out boss fights, this may as well have been PS2 game. The combat is functional but dated, the graphics are nice but feel very much like looking at an elaborate diorama, and there's a frustrating amount of padding. Maybe I'll prefer Ascension.

July 27th: Killzone 2 (PS3) - Paint-by-numbers FPS. Looks impressive for a game that's about six years old now, but does absolutely nothing interesting. Shooting is solid enough, AI is fine, but it's bafflingly mediocre for a big budget first party title. Why is the level design so pedestrian? Why is the player character so short? Why would anyone care about this game?

July 22nd: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3) - Found the first few hours of this really weak. Treacle-paced and fragmented, with loads of weak puzzles and tepid action sequences. If this series is going to be a linear spectacle it may as well do it with some gusto, which thankfully it starts to do in the latter half. The things I disliked in the first two games are all there, though. Armoured-up bullet sponges, poorly designed arenas, wooly aiming, auto climbing. The fact that Naughty Dog persist with the whole running-into-the-camera nonsense is fucking ridiculous, too. It's all nicely presented, though, I'll give it that.

July 15th: Alan Wake's American Nightmare (360) - It's not bad, but the story mode felt a bit lifeless and lacking in challenge. The excuse for tracking through the same environments three times felt flimsy and clichéd, and it failed to evoke the creepiness of Wake's main game. Arcade action mode seems fine but having to unlock weapons through the campaign collectathon turned me off.

July 11th: Motorstorm RC (Vita) - Furiously addictive little game. Wish it didn't dangle DLC stuff in your face all the time but it's no biggie. Rinsed through the main game and will eventually get around to doing everything, but I'm done for now.

July 3rd: LocoRoco (PSP) - A few hours of squishy-squashy joy. I have no problem with games that are tactile audio-visual delights more than they are mechanically deep. The flaws are there in the controls, which I found myself fighting during the more fiddly platforming sections, and the idea of replaying every level over and over to collect everything fills me with dread, but as a one-shot playthrough it was a lovely.

June 30th: Muramasa Rebirth (Vita) - Beautiful-looking and frequently thrilling game with solid combat mechanics. The story is weak but the translators have done their best with what was given to them, with some genuinely surprising and funny lines.

June 26th: Sound Shapes (Vita) - Found it a bit of a disappointment, really, but that might be my own fault. I thought the music would respond to the way I played, but really it's just triggering stuff in a linear way. That's fine but not terribly exciting. It does look and sound bloody lovely, though. The Jim Guthrie/Superbrothers levels are particularly wonderful. Level editor seems pretty decent and the community have made some nice stuff, I just don't have time for all that is all.

June 21st: Pixeljunk Shoter Ultimate (Vita) - A well-balanced, varied game that surprised me with how many little ideas it had. The fluid physics are impressive, while the visuals are simple but appealing and very readable. The only major issue was that sometimes an enemy would fly into me from the side of the screen with no warning, just as I was about to finish a level. Great game, though.

June 15th: Gravity Rush (Vita) - A beautiful little gem of a game. It doesn't do anything outrageously new, nor does it do everything perfectly, but it's one of the few open world-ish games in recent years that's captivated me enough to finish all the side quests. I dunno how long I spent just shifting around the city, freefalling and catching myself at the last minute. It's so relaxing. Made with love, this one.

June 14th: Hotline Miami (Vita) - Played this ages ago on my laptop, but it buggy as fuck. This was much better, and surprisngly well suited to the Vita's controls. It's just ridiculously satisying kicking down doors and fucking up everyone's day, and in such a perfectly gross, bleary, nauseating world.

May 24th: Prototype 2 (360) - The pinnacle of the smash-the-crap-out-of-everything open world games, at least as far as I've played. Takes the template of the first, fixes some of the frustrations like being attacked from off screen all the time and lets you run riot. Story is bobbins but it rattles along at a fair clip so it hardly matters. Surprisingly good looking, too.

May 20th: Asura's Wrath (360) - QTEs annoy the shit out of me when they're thrown into the likes of Halo 4 for no particular reason, but often find myself letting it go if the game is built around them. I had a lot of time for From Software's Ninja Blade and this isn't too dissimilar, really. Basic action game scrapping, big QTEs and dumb set pieces. It's a flawed curio for sure, but there's something hilarious about millions being spent on this barely interactive vanity project in which a a man has a hissy fit every three minutes and punches everything to bits.

May 19th: Rock of Ages (360) - A decent game, but one that needed a bit more work to really make the most of the concept. I always felt too rushed to strategise in any meaningful way between rounds, so I'd end up randomly chucking towers around so I could get the next boulder rolling. Still, it's unique in its presentation and I had a few hours of fun with it. Not too shabby at all.

May 10th: Kentucky Route Zero: Act III (PC) - It's just so eerily evocative of... something. One of the few games with a genuine sense of mystery to it. All you really do is colour the story as you go through, but it's so confident in taking its time, letting you bathe in its oddness, that it doesn't matter. There's one scene in this act that is among the best I've ever experienced. Lovely.

May 8th: Syndicate (PS3) - Nowt much to do with the old games, but that doesn't bother me much. Seems like they just tacked the name on to a typical Starbreeze shooter about half way through development or something. It has that really physical brutality that they're so good at, and using the active reload mechanic from Gears as an attack is pretty neat, but it's otherwise really forgettable. Oh, and the bloom is bloody ridiculous.

May 6th: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) - So much better than the first game it's unreal. Everything polished until it gleams, few bullshit instadeaths out of nowhere and some damn fine set-pieces. It's such a shame I find Drake one of the most repellent characters ever created, as the game seems to think he's charming or something.

May 4th: Rayman Legends (PS3) - Absolutely bloody pristine platforming. The only one in recent years that's come even close to Nintendo's best. Such a shame this seems to have sold fuck all, because it feels so well crafted.

April 29th: Saints Row: The Third (PS3) - Steamed through the story missions, couldn't be arsed with the filler. This is true of most open world games for me, these days, so it's no big deal. Though much of the zany American humour fell flat for me, I bloody loved the main missions and found the game full of so many satisfying little moments, like jumping straight off the side of the penthouse, parachuting at the last second and then bombing through the windscreen to pinch a car. Feels good, man.

April 24th: Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) - It's a bit of a mess, there are too many cut-scenes, too many turret sections, the bosses aren't as good as they should be and it all feels a little bit archaic BUT... I bloody love Metal Gear games.. I like tinkering with them, finding the little quirks they've included if you play around with the items and enemies. I'd take a lesser Kojima Metal Gear over your standard action fodder any day. It's really no Snake Eater, though.

April 21st: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3) - Pretty much hated the first half of this. Stiff, dull combat with the occasional bit of automatic jumping, interrupted only by something popping up and killing me out of nowhere or Drake completely failing to do what I asked. The plots not even very good, really, and I was lead to believe was quite well done. Picks up the pace a bit in the latter half but even then it felt a bit shonky. Everyone says the sequels are better though. We'll see.

March 27th: Noby Noby Boy (PS3) - Daft little toy thing, but I found myself messing around with it for way longer than expected. Rough around the edges but really charming and amusing at times. Controls are mental, though.

March 27th: Guacamelee (PS3) - Really nicely drawn and concise Metroidvania with nifty combat. Didn't really notice the difficulty spikes I'd read about, just had to watch the attack patterns of some of the later bosses. Could've done without the naff memes and games references scattered about, but you can't have everything I suppose. I had a really enjoyable couple of evenings with this.

March 25th: Flower (PS3) - Looks like a fabric softener advert and the music is occasionally a bit 'early-90s motivational video', so why is this so bloody lovely? I dunno, but it is. Relaxing in a way that games so rarely attempt, let alone achieve. Kinda wish it wouldn't grab the camera to show something happening when you're mid-'flow', but it's no biggie.

March 24th: Flow (PS3) - A pretty mesmerising experience while it lasted, and I'm glad they were smart enough not to drag it out longer than the concept deserved. Enjoyed one of the later creature that had me dashing around, gorging on other creatures in a ravenous blood-lust.

March 24th: Rain (PS3) - A simple, slight but very charming little game in which you find yourself visible only under rainfall whilst evading a seemingly immortal monster. There's nothing mechanically original about it, and the presentation is a little cloying at times, but it all hangs together very well. Reminded me of Clock Tower for some reason.

March 21st: Killer is Dead (PS3) - By the numbers Grasshopper, really, which is bit of a disappointment as I usually love their games. The combat is simple yet satisfying, but it lacks the madcap daftness of Lollipop Chainsaw and Shadows of the Damned for which I forgave those games their flaws. Here, it's disjointed action vignettes punctuated by self-consciously zany cut-scenes, when really I yearned for Killer7's pervasive weirdness. Gigolo missions seem more like clumsily executed Bond parody than works of outright misogyny they've been reported as, but are still boring and unnecessary. Bosses were mad fun, though.

March 17th: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut (PS3) - An enjoyable game. Nice to play something that lets you play at your own pace, even if it does feel like you're faffing about when the narrative is telling you to hurry the fuck up. Mass Effect has the same problem, though. Good things: Enjoyable stealth, interesting upgrades, decent dialogue, looks pretty nice. Bad things: Bosses are shit, ropey cut-scenes, repetitive hacking and locations, meandering plot. A solid foundation for a follow up, I reckon.

March 10th: Tomb Raider (PS3) - Does so many things well yet disappoints equally. There's a better, more open and more ambitious game in there, somewhere. The entire hunting/camping/crafting side of things has little to no underlying systems yet feel like they should, while the traversal is slick but streamlined to the point of being inconsequential. Combat is satisfying due to the auto-cover and the wonderful bow and shotgun, but the arc of 'traumatised by first self-defence kill' to 'wiped out about a thousand guys because survival' feels really weird and gross. Could've done with cutting out about half of the enemies and going for more abandoned spaces. Still, the animation is lovely, I found the plot engagingly silly for most of it and the soundtrack is some primitive Einsturzende Neubauten industrial thing in places. Highs and lows.

March 5th: LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3) - An under-appreciated game, I feel. It loses some of ModNation's more unique approach to kart racing but gains the vastly more appealing world and powerful creation tools of LBP. A fair trade, I reckon. Inherits some of LBP's woolliness in the controller response, which is a shame, but the story mode was pretty enjoyable throughout. Some really neat community levels to mess around in, too.

March 3rd: Journey (PS3) - ...aaaand from the ridiculous to the utterly sublime. A stunning work, it really is. Visually it's along the lines of Gwen, ou le Livre de Sable or some of Moebius' desert vistas, which would probably be enough for me. The fact that it's also a brilliant, brilliant game is the most wonderful bonus. The feeling of companionship you have with other players is genuine but also really difficult to explain, as is the rather odd sensation of loss when you lose someone. I won't go into more detail for fear of spoiling it, but it's one of the only games that I would consider perfect.

March 3rd: Beyond: Two Souls (PS3) - I don't really mind these narrative experiences and I thought the initial third of the game was pretty great, to be honest. Genuinely enjoyed some of the sequences in which you're on the run. Then it flies off the rails and never recovers, mostly through bad writing, but the gameplay, as flimsy as it is to begin with, never really evolves at all. Oh, and they do that thing where they put a bunch of racial caricatures in a game and then invent a country in an attempt to make it all okay. Fuck off.

Feb 28th: XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PS3) - Favourite thing I've played all year, this. Played Normal Ironman a found it just wonderfully absorbing and utterly gutting when you'd lose a long-serving squad member. A few technical problems with the camera but nothing too distracting. Heading back in soon for another run...

Feb 21st: FTL (PC) - Put about ten hours in and probably done with this. Utterly and completely absorbing while its charms lasted, but the randomness of it just wore me out after a while. Nothing wrong with it, as the brutality is the nature of the thing, but I just don't have the will continue.

Feb 21st: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 (360) - A bit flat and lifeless, this episode. Minimal interaction even by Telltale standards and few decisions seems to be of real consequence. Hopefully it picks up again. Still bloody love the score.

Feb 15th: Bioshock Infinite (PS3) - I loved it. It would've been nice to have a few more open arenas and a little more response from the enemies when you hit them, but I don't get the harsh criticisms of the combat. Swinging around on the skyrails was endless fun, bounding off and chucking some vigors all over the shop I found some of the old ultra-violence a bit off, but it's a small matter. More than anything I admire its ambition, and Levine done good in my book.

Feb 11th: Metro: Last Light (PS3) - I absolutely loved this, if for nothing other than the atmosphere and sense of place. I do have a weakness for grim Russian apocalypses and atomic mysticism, though. There are faults, like the overpowered stealth, linearity and abundance of supplies, but it all came together well. Would appreciate more freedom to wander the surface in a follow-up. Here's hoping.

Feb 8th: Remember Me (PS3) - A game of linear traversal and simple, satisfying combat. Punctuated nicely by the memory remixes, which were interesting even though they failed to live up to their potential. Other than that, I enjoyed the story, found it looked spectacular throughout and thought it had some neat ideas (like the customisable combo strings).

Jan 29th: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360) - The story was jingoistic rambling nonsense, and half the game felt like a tutorial for multiplayer or something, but it perked up once it let you have some freedom. Nice to see a game that accommodates different strategies, if only in certain sections.

Jan 27th: Shoot Many Robots (360) - Abandoning this but I kinda consider it finished as I've almost certainly seen everything it has to offer. Generic 2D run-and-gunner with an admirable number of levels and upgrades but a woeful lack of variety throughout. Boring.

Jan 27th: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (360) - A somewhat confused but heartfelt 80s pastiche. I reckon I'd have preferred it if they'd played it straight, to be honest. Could've done without the lazy internet meme humour, too. Enjoyed the boosted pace and lack of fall damage but wish they hadn't walled-off the bases as it seemed to limit the ways in which you could approach them. Feels like an idea that could be better fleshed out with a sequel, though.

Jan 27th: You Will Die Alone At Sea (PC) - Spend a minute floating in a red wireframe ocean, doing nowt. I have a fair tolerance for pointless indie curios but this does nothing and says nothing. At least has the decency to so succinctly.

Jan 25th: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 (360) - An intriguing story, remarkably well executed visually, with a neatly understated synth-pulse of a score. I was bound to like this. I see the recent Telltale games more like choose-your-own-adventure books than the point-and-clicks of the past, and enjoy them on those terms. Besides, I always hated the obtuse puzzles of most adventure games so I'm glad those are out.

Jan 24th: Spec Ops: The Line (360) - By-the-numbers gameplay that disguises (or allows for) a surprisingly subversive take on the strange appeal that video game conflict has to so many. Or at least, that's how I read it. The execution is a little uneven but it's encouraging to see a big budget title try to tackle these things.

Jan 18th: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD (360) - Not a bad take on the 2D Castlevania formula. Having three playable characters might have been more interesting if they'd had significantly different weapons and move sets, and I wish they'd gone with the art style in the cut-scenes, but the combat was pretty decent. Story is too boring to mention in any detail.

Jan 14th: Deadlight (360) - This has possibly the worst writing and voice acting I've encountered in a long, long while, along with too much trial-and-error bullshit and inexplicably unresponsive controls. The last one isn't too much of an issue when the game lets you move around at your own pace, but once it starts expecting you to perform flawlessly at speed the game falls apart. A shame because there's a decent contemporary Flashback-style platformer in there, somewhere.

Jan 14th: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (360) - Curious little game with some neat, simplistic ideas coming and going before outstaying their welcome. Wasn't convinced the storytelling was much more than a generic mishmash of over-familiar fairy tales, but it was enjoyable enough.

Jan 13th: Halo 4 (360) - Really, really enjoyed this, but I always enjoy Halo. Nothing drastically different and sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. I had certain problems with the Prometheans, as I always seemed to end up fighting them in much the same way, but nothing that can't be ironed out in the next one.

Jan 6th: Outland (360) - Love the animation and fluidity of movement in general. Probably could've done with a heavier emphasis on the Metroidvania side of things and I almost lost patience with the final boss, but a solid, enjoyable game.

Jan 4th: A Dark Room (Browser) - Finished in the sense that I got bored of waiting for something interesting to happen. Not even sure if there is an ending. I'm not averse to text-based games but there are better uses of my time than watching numbers go up, waiting for a smidgen of revealing information somewhere down the line.

Jan 3rd: Night Rider Turbo (Browser) - Basically EnviroBear 2000: Operation Hibernation with an 80s vibe. Pretty funny for a few minutes.

Jan 2nd: Peggle Nights (360) - It's more Peggle. Nowt more to add, really.

Jan 2nd: I Am Alive (360) - It tried hard, but ended up being a pretty hollow experience. Archaic in most areas and the combat never really lived up to its potential. I liked that climbing actually a required a bit of thought and effort, though.

Jan 1st: Dishonored (360) - Beautiful, fascinating and a bit flawed. Felt it gave you a vast arsenal of stuff for a chaotic play-through but was lacking interesting stealth options. Probably still one of my most enjoyed games of recent years.

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July

19/07 Ting Bang Story (PC) It's been awhile since I've played a hidden object game and given that this one from my pile of shame had trading cards and I had a couple of hours on a lazy Sunday afternoon to fill I played through it. Pleasant enough, although the hidden puzzle pieces it turns out do nothing. Still it's one less game on the pile.

12/07 Sunset (PC) The 'controversial' last game by Tale of Tales. It's a pity they've had a dummy spit because this is their best game yet. I sat down meaning only to play it for a half hour but once I got into the rhythm of cleaning and messing around with stuff I found it oddly compulsive. It is glitchy though, crashed on me once, has no v-sync and feels just rough in general. I know other teams are bigger but playing this directly after Life is Strange made this look a little ropey. For those that are interested my playthrough was about 3 hours and I got about 75% of the achievements.

06/07 3D Outrun (3DS) Didn't take me too long to open all the unlocks on this. Finished. But not finished. Because I'll be playing this for the rest of the year. Love it to bits.

05/07 The Walking Dead:Season Two (PC) Aka misery simulator 2015. It was always going to be hard to match the first season, for most of the game though I really felt like I was just along for the ride. I was always going to play through this given how much I loved the first, but this one left me feeling a little flat. Possibly it had too large a cast for me to really feel invested in anyone. Edit: A few days later and I've completely changed my mind on this. Not as good as the first season but I'm pretty impressed at some of the situations it put me in and some of the things I learned about myself and about the blindness one can have when it comes to people you feel you know. Highly recommended, just expect to feel completely pissed off at it after you've first finished it.

02/07 Mafia 2 (360) Bit of a disappointment this. I loved the driving but it felt a lot emptier than LA Noire. I can't put my finger on it, it just felt underwhelming. Maybe because I didn't warm to any of the characters at all.

Previously

June

28/06 Raiden III (PC)

28/06 Ikaruga (PC)

27/06 The Walking Dead:Season One (inc 400 Days) (PC)

21/06 Bioshock 2:Minerva's Den (PC)

19/06 Dragon Age:Inquisition (including The Jaws of Hakkon DLC) (PS4)

11/06 The Starship Damrey (3DS)

07/06 Attack of the Friday Monsters! (3DS)

01/06 Evil Quest (PC)

May

25/05 Dungeons and Dragons:Shadows of Mystara (PC)

26/05 Spec Ops:the Line (PC)

24/05 The Unfinished Swan (PS4)

20/05 Broken Age (PC)

18/05 Dungeons and Dragons:Tower of Doom (PC)

Apr

26/04 Roundabout (PC)

23/04 Freshman Year (PC)

22/04 Phoenix Wright:Ace Attorney:Dual Destinies (3DS)

22/04 The Wolf Among Us (PC)

03/04 Assassin's Creed:Freedom Cry (PS4)

Mar

16/03 Assassin's Creed 4:Black Flag (PS4)

01/03 R-Type Leo

Feb

15/02 Vigilante (Arcade)

09/02 Afterburner Climax (360)

02/02 StreetPass Quest (3DS)

01/02 Infamous:First Light (PS4)

Jan

26/01 Red Faction:Guerrilla (360)

20/01 Steamworld Dig (PS4)

18/01 Double Dragon (PC)

04/01 The Last of Us:Left Behind (PS4)

01/01 The Last of Us:Remastered (PS4)

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Who, could you please spoiler your games from previous months?

18/07/2015 - Shadowrun Returns (PC)

Pretty disappointed in this, given the praise it received here, and never really warmed to it. For me I felt both the RPG side and the combat were lacking. There didn't seem to be much point in decking, either, and it certainly wasn't very interesting when you did - an aspect that Harebrained Schemes still have issues with, given that it has been a specific stretch goal for both Dragonfall and Hong Kong.

I have Dragonfall to play so I will at some point but I'm in no rush to jump into it (even though I know it is much-improved over Returns).

Previously completed

14/07/15 - Bound By Flame (PC)

14/07/15 - Gears of War: Judgement (X360)
27/06/15 - The Witcher (PC)
20/03/15 - Dead Effect (PC)
01/03/15 - Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, Episode 2 (PC)
22/02/15 - Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC)
07/02/15 - Arcania: Gothic 4 (X360)
03/02/15 - Demonicon (PC)
31/01/15 - Bioshock Infinite - Burial At Sea, Part 1 (PC)
27/01/15 - The Walking Dead - 400 Days (PC)
26/01/15 - Mars: War Logs (X360)
22/01/15 - Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek (PC)
04/01/15 - Bioshock Infinite (PC)

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01/01/15 - Pokemon Y (3DS)
04/01/15 - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
11/01/15 - Tearaway (VITA)
13/01/15 - The Swapper (VITA)
20/01/15 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (VITA)
22/01/15 - Shovel Knight (Wii U)
24/01/15 - Machinarium (VITA)
31/01/15 - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
08/02/15 - 80 Days (Android)
15/02/15 - Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
19/03/15 - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (3DS)
11/14/15 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
03/07/15 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

19/01/15 - Gone Home (PC)

Late to the party, but this was a great way to spend two hours of a Sunday afternoon. Completely enthralling from start to finish. The way the story unfolded was brilliant. Snap it up the next time it's on sale.

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Haven't updated for 3 months so here goes

Previously
01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15

16 17 18

19 - Asura's Wrath (Xbox 360)
Had far more gameplay in it then I was led to believe. Liked the anime-episode structure of the game and lots of it felt incredibly fresh and unique and the story kept my interest throughout. Everybody should give this a go I think.

20 - Unfinished Swan (PS4)

A beautiful short and imaginative game. Loved how nothing outstayed it's welcome and the journey of the game remained constantly surprising.

21 - Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes (PS4)

I admire Kojima's ambition but fell into the traps of all the things I hate about stealth games - they aren't for me really, and this was just the right length for me to know that MGSV will hold no appeal.

22 - Super Exploding Zoo! (PS4)

A terrible game that wants to be a puzzle game but isn't taxing enough to be that - instead it descends into frustration as you grapple with the poor controls unable to quite select the right animal for the task 100% of the time. Some really poor mechanics make an appearance, to maybe think that the game has ideas but everything is really poorly executed time and again. All the charm of a cheap flash game to boot.

23 - You Must Build A Boat (Mobile)

First mobile game I have played in years. It's alright I suppose, but I can't help but wish for more customisation and depth.

24 - Entwined (PS4)

A very short indie title which feels like Tempest, REZ and a few other things. Simple tunnel game in which you fly into sections of the screen a move in pleasing patterns. Sound and visuals appealed greatly and there is an odd juxtaposition in the difficult nature of the game, and the relaxing tone.

25 - Cubello (Wii)

Been stuck on the last level for many years, and I finally beat it last week. One of the best Wii pointer games which is about matching colours by shooting boxes at a rotating object of squares. Fast paced and often thrilling, it's a great game that Ill probably continue to play every now and then for years to come.

Cubell

26 - Forza Horizon (Xbox 360)

It's a good background game, but fails to engage on lots of levels, and grates intensely with it's premise and "characters". A nice driving game, but a poor racing game.

27 - Piecefall (PS4)

Have you seen Piecefall? etc. This is the first game from students at Sheffield Hallam. Pretty basic puzzle game with some pretty glaring flaws - that being it's not really much of a puzzle game, more of a memory test and failure is frequent and requires restarts. Well worth supporting for £1 though.

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01/01/15 - Pokemon Y (3DS)
04/01/15 - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
11/01/15 - Tearaway (VITA)
13/01/15 - The Swapper (VITA)
20/01/15 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (VITA)
22/01/15 - Shovel Knight (Wii U)
24/01/15 - Machinarium (VITA)
31/01/15 - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
08/02/15 - 80 Days (Android)
15/02/15 - Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
19/03/15 - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (3DS)
11/14/15 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
03/07/15 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

19/07/15 - Gone Home (PC)

19/07/15 - The Stanley Parable (PC)

Two games inside four hours today!

This was ok. It had me grinning on a few occasions, and I managed to find most of the endings myself. Overall, though, I was expecting it to be a lot better than it was after the hype it's received on here, and whereas with Gone Home I wouldn't have minded paying £10 for a game that lasted me two hours, with this I definitely would have. Worth experiencing if you can get it for a few quid, like I did.

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Who, could you please spoiler your games from previous months?

Sorry, I didn't realise how annoying it was until I read this today on my mobile and scrolled.....and scrolled and scrolled.

I reserve the right to show the list in it's full glory at year's end though! For now I'll spoiler previous months (as well as removing summaries at month's end and deleting posts if I have more than one per page.)

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2015

________

JAN-JUN

01. Monument Valley - Forgotten Shores & Red Chapter (iOS)
Loved the original when I played it last year. Bought the expansions a while back but only just got around to playing them. It's the first video game I've managed to get my wife to play with me which was a lot of fun. I'll try and get her playing one of the Lucasarts point & clicks, probably Grim Fandango to get her into it that way. I digress. Great expansion with lovely new locations and gameplay additions. 9/10

02. Infamous: First Light (PS4)
Like Second Son, this is just OK really. I seem to have found them both very relaxing and I though I did enjoy it, it's very safe and a bit uninspired. I have a few trophies to get, but I'm not really into the Arena aspect, so may just leave that side of it out. An enjoyable 5/10

03. Shovel Knight (3DS)

A very enjoyable retro Mega Man-style platformer. Infuriating in places, but always achievable I ended up with 79 deaths, 75% complete and I may even go back for the New Game +. Very much looking forward to the free DLC. 8/10

04. GTA V (PS4)

Completed story mode, 75%. Just phenomenal. I didn't really like GTA IV so went into this with some trepidation. Luckily this one actually lived up to the hype. Everything is spot on - the script straddled the cheesy line well, the characters were just stereotypical enough, the vehicles handle well. My only gripe is with some of the never-ending gun battles and the lack of any guidance on getting Gold medals until after you've completed the missions. Other than that, I loved it. 10/10

05. Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker (Wii U)

This game made me happy. Very happy. The graphics are lovely, the music is beautiful, the characterisation is flawless and the puzzles are tiny little dioramas of joy. Yeah, it's not super difficult or very long, but I managed (almost) all of the diamonds and will be going back to get stamps and do the Bonus stages when I have snippets of time to kill. 9/10

FEBRUARY

06. The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds (3DS)

This makes the fourth Zelda game I've finished. It's just lovely. The music and graphics are charming, 3D helps bring the world alive and they actually managed to make the 'alternate dimension' storyline enjoyable. I loved being able to tackle any dungeon I wanted and the quick-travel system is a very, very thankful inclusion. 9/10 ESSENTIAL

06. The Starship Damrey (3DS)

Bags of atmosphere, some jump scares, a not-too-rubbish script and a nice nod to old 3D dungeon games. I *did* use a guide for a little part where I was wondering around for ages, stumped. Turns out it was reallhy obvious and I'm crap. Please don't use a guide for this game. - it ruins it. Glad I picked this up in the sale at Christmas and glad I completed it. I think this is the fourth Level-5 mini release I've finished out of five purchased. 7/10 RECOMMENDED

07. Game of Thrones: Episode I (PS4)

Completed this with the wife as a second attempt to get her into gaming and I think she enjoyed it, though she kept saying how terrible the graphics were (a true gamer at heart, then ;) ). The script was good, the voice acting great and it didn't outstay its' welcome. Just gutted I bought this episode solus the day before the Season Pass price drop. Great for fans of the series, but I'd suggest you play it on a different platform than the one under your TV. 7/10 ENJOYABLE

APRIL

08. Driveclub (reached Level 50)

This is my favourite racing game since the days of PGR2 on Xbox Live with a few of you lot. The online racing is still basically bumper cars, which spoils an otherwise excellent game. Plugging away to reach level 50 was never a chore, though I am feeling a little annoyed at the amount of races you have to complete in a certain country to complete that accolade. The number is ludicrous. 8/10 ESSENTIAL


09. BoxBoy! (Story complete)

Excellent puzzle/platformer. If you have a 3DS buy it now. 8/10 ESSENTIAL


10. Mighty Gunvolt (complete)

Retro freebie received with Azure Striker Gunvolt which made a pretty good distraction for 40 minutes or so. 6/10 ALRIGHT IF YOU LIKE THAT KIND OF THING


11.Affordable Space Adventures (complete)

Main contender for GOTY. The game the Wii U gamepad has been lacking since launch title Nintendo Land. It's very funny and also quite harrowing. Pretty much the best ending to a game I've ever seen. My only criticism is that it's a bit short. 10/10 ESSENTIAL


12. Streepass Mansion (Cleared all 50 levels)

Grind!

MAY

13. Teslagrad (Wii U, regular ending)

Nice enough Metroidvania light with a sweet hand-drawn style. You could probably get it on PC for a fraction of the price. Not too long and with some nice weapons, marred by some fucked physics on a couple of puzzles making them frustrating rather than a lack of skill. Only a couple though, so overall it's well made. 7/10 RECOMMENDED


14. Little Inferno (iOS, 2nd play through)

Love this game. Such a great time sink. 8/10 RECOMMENDED

JUNE

15. Moero! Nekketsu Rhythm Dmashii Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan 2 (DS)

I fancied another play through of this, so ordered a copy off eBay (lost my other cart).Only got through it on normal, but it's just as much fun as the first one, though I think the original has greater sentimental attachment due to me learning the soundtrack off by heart (and it being my favourite game of all time). Not a perfect 10, but bloody close. 9/10 ESSENTIAL

16. MGS: Ground Zeroes (PS4)

Various different runs and side missions complete. This game is a lot of fun and, though never having been an MGS fan before, has really made me look forward to the Phantom Pain. 8/10 ESSENTIAL

Lots of Xenoblade Chronicles & Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate.

JULY

17. Arkham Knight: Harley Quinn DLC (PS4)

What an utterly terrible piece of DLC, even for free. The character sucks and her her voice. Ugh. 5/10 POINTLESS

18. Arkham Knight (PS4)

It looks phenomenal, plays incredibly well and really feels like a step forward in story telling and the evolution of side quests and extra missions. Once I'd been told about bonnet cam, I found I really enjoyed the – bizarrely light and floaty – Batmobile. Thundering around Gotham was great fun and the pursuit challenges became a great deal more fun. That said, the over-reliance on the Batmobile's Tank mode was a giant step backwards IMHO, leading to repetitive, boring and sometimes incredibly claustrophobic fights. If there was a way to play this with a third fewer tank battles, it'd be a 10. Favourite parts are still soaring above Gotham, looking for a challenge, burning bat symbol or column of smoke to examine. The first game of the three in which I've truly felt like the Batman. 8/10 HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

________
2014



JANUARY
Jetpack Joyride (Vita) // Jet Set Radio HD (Vita) // Hotline Miami (Vita) // Guacamelee! (Vita)
Kirby's Adventure 3D (NES/3DS) // Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D (3DS)
Ridiculous Fishing (iOS)

FEBRUARY
Super Little Acorns 3D Turbo (3DS)
The Walking Dead Episodes 1-5 (Vita) // The Walking Dead 400 Days DLC (Vita)

MARCH
Batman Arkham City Armoured Edition (Wii U)
Halo 4 (360)
Battlefield 4 (PS4)

APRIL
LIMBO (Vita)
Splinter Cell: Blacklist (Wii U)

MAY
Mario Kart 7 (3DS)
Contrast (PS4) // Tomb Raider Definitive Edition (PS4)

JUNE -- nothing. MK8 and Battlefield Premium happened. Started Infamous: Second Son

JULY
Aliens: Infestation (DS) // Elite Beat Agents (DS)
Infamous: Second Son (PS4) // Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4) - Fergus Timeline
Metal Slug Defence (iOS)
Swords & Soldiers HD (Wii U)

AUGUST
Monument Valley (iOS)
Blok Drop U (Wii U)
Stick it to the Man (PS4)

SEPTEMBER
The Legend of Zelda: Wind Waker HD (Wii U) // Abyss (Wii U) // Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D (3DS)
Hyrule Warriors (Wii U)

OCTOBER
Guacamelée Super Turbo Championship Edition (PS4)
Liberation Maiden (3DS)


NOVEMBER
Bayonetta (Wii U)
Steamworld Dig (Vita)
Bayonetta II (Wii U)

Abandoned: Dead Island (360) because it's a bit shit.




________
2013



January -- Gunman Clive (3DS)
Crimson Shroud (3DS)


February -- Liberation Maiden (3DS)
Walking Dead Episode 1 (iOS)


March -- Wipeout 2097 (Vita)
Judge Dredd Vs Zombies (iOS)
Little Inferno (iOS)


April -- Code of Princess (3DS)

May -- Nothing. Monster Hunter got it's hooks in me.

June -- Luigi's Mansion 2 (3DS)
Kid Icarus: Uprising (3DS)


July -- Nowt

August -- Streetpass Squad (3DS)
New Super Mario Bros U (Wii U)


September -- Ghostbusters (360)

October -- Nada

November -- Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies (3DS)
Runner 2: Future Legend of Rhythm Alien (Wii U)


December -- God of War: Ghost of Sparta (PSP)
Tearaway (Vita)
Resident Evil: Revelations (3DS)
Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
Dungeons & Dragons: Chronicles of Mystara (Wii U)
Phoenix Wright: Dual Destinies Special Case (3DS)
Streetpass Battle (3DS)

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01/01/15 - Pokemon Y (3DS)
04/01/15 - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
11/01/15 - Tearaway (VITA)
13/01/15 - The Swapper (VITA)
20/01/15 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (VITA)
22/01/15 - Shovel Knight (Wii U)
24/01/15 - Machinarium (VITA)
31/01/15 - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
08/02/15 - 80 Days (Android)
15/02/15 - Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
19/03/15 - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (3DS)
11/14/15 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
03/07/15 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

19/07/15 - Gone Home (PC)

19/07/15 - The Stanley Parable (PC)

20/07/15 - Yoshi's Wooly World (Wii U)

After 25 hours or so, I reckon I'm about done with this now. I got to the credits on Thursday night and was spending some time mopping up the collectibles I'd missed, but doing so necessitates replaying more or less every level from start to finish, and it's ultimately become a bit of a chore, so, much as I hate to miss out on that 100% completed feeling, it's time to move on.

Overall, it's a good game: imaginative, charming and varied, and the music's wonderful. What prevents it from reaching greatness, however, are some jarring design decisions which frequently result in frustration, namely, having the ground pound command mapped to a downwards push on the analogue stick, which, on a number of occasions, caused me to unintentionally plummet to my doom, and the inconsistent checkpoint system, which often boots you back too far and resets your collectibles, meaning you have to pick all of them up again before you can continue - especially galling when they're in hard to reach places.

That said, the pros outweigh the cons, and for the £25 I paid for it, I'd say it's worth it.

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Uncharted Vita done. Probably the worst of the lot, and I bloody hated the first.

Metrico too.

2015

22/07 - Metrico (Vita) - Another game that falls over itself in its attempts to use all of the Vita's functions. Parts of this are neat enough, with a sharp look and devious little puzzles, but the infographic aesthetic leaves me cold and the need for simultaneous back-and-front touch gestures, motion control and button presses mean you end up twisting and contorting uncomfortably for fairly long stretches.

21/07 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita) - Or, Uncharted: Lowered Expectations Edition. Just because a AAA console game can technically be shoehorned into a handheld doesn't make it a worthwhile endeavour. In fairness, Drake is more bearable than usual and his relationship with Sully is still kinda charming, but this takes the flimsy combat and ropey climbing of the first game, takes out all the big set-pieces and crams touch and gyroscope crap between every five minutes of action. More than anything I'd describe this as boring, which is a stunning failure, really.
18/07 - Sine Mora (Vita) - Stupendously attractive for a handheld game and with some neat systems built around time limits and manipulation. Not the greatest schmup I've played but a surprisingly lavish one in this day and age. Weirdly pretentious story filler, though.
17/07 - Badland (Android) - The whole 'tap to flap/float/whatever' genre leaves me pretty cold to be honest. This has some nice ideas but like with Jetpack Joyride and others I got bored quickly. Presntation is weirdly dull and distant in a way I found unengaging, too.
17/07 - 80 Days (Android) - I did two runs through in a single sitting, which probably tells you how much I enjoyed it. Well written, unique choose-your-own-adventure game with some lovely sound design.
16/07 - Destiny (PS4) - I bought the base game and the two expansions together and it's a damn good game, Destiny, with probably the best feel of any shooter I've played. Everything about the experience is super slick, evocative and utterly intoxicating. The feel of controlling a sparrow or firing a hand cannon into a Fallen's face is so, so perfect it's hard to describe. There's not enough of it, though, and the manipulative stuff they've used to keep you playing is pretty sinister in its potency. I've never been one to get lured in by the promise of random loot drops, but this was starting to get its claws into me in a way that I find concerning, so we're done (for now...)
10/07 - Entwined (PS4) - Pretentious nonsense attempting to mimic thatgamecompany and falling flat in every way. Nasty new age rubbish with a single dull mechanic and unpleasant free-flight controls that it obviously considers a 'reward' at the end of each level.
19/06 - Never Alone (PS4) - A worthy enough idea, combining the indie game and the documentary, but neither side is particularly satisfactory in and of itself. A cumbersome platformer with occasionally stubborn movement and few interesting ideas doesn't particularly inspire me to learn about a culture. Looks really nice, though.
19/06 - Dead Nation (PS4) - Solid twin-stick shooter with a solid arsenal of weapons and enough variety to keep things fresh. Still looks very PS3 in its visuals but the lighting is nice enough. Not sure why they even bothered with the story, though.
17/06 - Shadow Warrior (PS4) - Ridiculous 90s mega-carnage sprint-everywhere fuck-em-up. A genuinely brilliant update of an old classic and shows how Duke Nukem should've been done. Garish in a charming way and occasionally quite pretty, with a daft, funny script and varied, powerful set of weapons. Didn't like it when I'd accidentally dash down some stairs and kill myself from fall damage, but that's my own fault. Ending goes on forever, too.
15/06 - Costume Quest 2 (PS4) - It's barely more involving than the first in terms of the battle system and quests, and there's too much back-tracking and fetch-questing for such a short game, but there's so much to love about Costume Quest. Funny little script, a cute premise about a dental hygeine dystopia in which candy is illegal make it a winner for me.
13/06 - Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4) - Man, I loved this. Somehow manages to be both funny and poignant at the same time as brutal and dumb. Both stealth and boom-bang approaches are satisfying and the whole 'kill the commander' system is inspired. Sound mix is a bit off and recharging the energy weapons is tiresome, but there's just moment after moment of brilliance in this.
11/06 - The Swapper (Vita/PS4) - Enjoyed the look and feel of this but had to give it up after a point. Puzzles were wrecking my head and cheating didn't sound like much fun, so it's done with for now. Really nce atmosphere, though.
09/06 - Resogun (Vita/PS4) - Played this across both formats. Furiously addictive and visually astonishing. Holds up surprisingly well on the Vita, and only really loses the whizzy effects.
08/06 - Futuridium EP (Vita) - Shit, boring concept that should never have made it past the demo stage. Gave it half an hour.
08/06 - The Binding of Isaac Rebirth (Vita) - It was great on PC and it's still great. The new art style is nice but doesn't blow me away or anything, but the music is pretty sweet.
08/06 - Modnation Racers (Vita) - Horrendously ugly and the frame rate is so bad it's like looking at a zoetrope. Dull races that have no sense of urgency or thrill.
08/06 - Titan Attacks! (Vita) - Dull, ugly 'update' of Space Invaders that no one asked for or needed in a post-Space Invaders Extreme world. Pointless.
07/06 - Kick & Fennick (Vita) - Ugly game in terms of art style and visually monotonous, but I like the core concept of using recoil to bounce around. Good little game.
07/06 - Monster Bag (Vita) - One of those games that probably only exists because Sony need to fund quick little games to throw on PS+ every month, and one that has very few mechanical ideas, but it's nicely presented and makes the most of its core concept.
06/06 - Murasaki Baby (Vita) - Some of the touch controls don't work too well and the spooky-wooky Tim Burton style does nothing for me, but I enjoyed some of the novelty of this. Doesn't run its ideas into the ground and left me satisfied enough.
06/06 - Race the Sun (Vita) - Boring as hell endless....flyer? I dunno how people play this shit. Has that flat shaded polygonal style that's back in vogue for indie games but does nothing interesting with it.
06/06 - Killzone Mercenary (Vita) - Shouldn't really work on a handheld, and the sticks struggle a bit with aiming and turning in general, but this is somehow the most enjoyable Killzone of the lot. Neat little bursts of shooty brutality. Gets a bit flickery with the frame-rate but it's an impressive technical feat.
04/06 - Battlefield 4 (PS4) - Indistinguishable from every other military FPS campaign I've played in the last however-many years. Sound and visuals are super impressive but that's about it, really. The whole plot is baffling and vaguely offensive at times, and I have to wish they wouldn't keep wasting resources on this stuff. I'll keep playing the multiplayer until the next one is out, mind.
03/06 - Alien Isolation: Crew Expendable/Last Survivor DLC (PS4) - Slight and adds nothing new to the actual gameplay, but there's a thrill and novelty in the attempt to render the latter half of the movie in game form. Worth the few quid I paid for it.
03/06 - Counterspy (PS4) - Neat Saul Bass-ish visuals and twangy soundtrack for a game with an interesting Xcom-lite structure and fun action platforming. Enjoyed pretty much everything about this, so will have a few runs more on the Vita version whilst I'm on holiday next week.
03/06 - Aaru's Awakening (PS4) - Has a beautiful hand-animated style that really deserves to be seen and....little else. Awkward controls, poor level design and annoying bosses. There are some neat ideas with the teleporting but it's badly implemented. made it as far as the last boss (I think) and gave up. Life's too short.
03/06 - Tower of Guns (PS4) - Yeah, I didn't finish this either, but I did play long enough to work out what it is. FPS rougue-like level-up blah blah blah. It's pretty boring, really, though there's something about its rough N64 look that I quite like, for some reason.
03/06 - Secret Ponchos (PS4) - Was interested in this but couldn't find anyone to actually play against. It's dead, I guess.
02/06 - Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS4) - I never would've bought this, being a non-SNK/Capcom 2D fighter themed around a universe I care nothing about, but it was surprisingly fun. I only played through the story mode, though, having no desire to master it enough to play online. It's charmingly daft and the cutscenes are awful but I've wasted my time on worse.
02/06 -Valiant Hearts - The Great War (PS4) - Tonally this veers all over the place, unable to decide if it's some slapstick steampunk lark or a grim, sober retelling of historical facts. The art style is nice but I found it jarred badly with the photos of really facial disfiguration and bodies in the menus, and the bloodless presentation and timid storytelling often came across as dishonest. There's a serviceable but dull adventure puzzle game underneath it all, but that's faint praise.
29/05 - Transistor (PS4) - Loved pretty much everything about this, from its art nouveau/deco/cyberpunk hybrid art style and loungey electronic score, through to the well-realised, unique battle system. Found it utterly captivating to the point that I played it in two sittings, and I wasn't massively taken by Bastion. Highly recommended.
27/05 - Strider (PS4) - One of those games that just has the sheer joy of interaction and motion to it. Cartwheeling over some dudes and unleashing a barrage of swooshy sword attacks never gets old. The metroidvania stuff is very light and they don't even bother with a plot as such (probably for the best), but for half an hour every few nights this was golden. Music was a bit underwhelming, though.
26/05 - Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare (PS4) - Wonderfully well crafted. I bombed hours into this without blinking, it was so bloody compelling. This is that rarity in online gaming in that I rarely felt cheated or frustrated by other players, so it's shame that people only play a handful of modes, then, as they all seem fun in their own way.
26/05 - Pix the Cat (PS4) - Colourfully presented in an effort to convince you it's fun. It isn't, though, unless you like memorising routes and repeating them from scratch each time you make a slight error in order to have the chance of a decent high score, which is the focus of the entire game. Played for about two hours and it barely deserved that.
18/05 - Infamous: Second Son (PS4) - It's basically Prototype or Saints Row IV but not as fun and more repetitive. All the powers are much the same and I barely bothered with the side missions because Sucker Punch had barely bothered to put any effort into them. It is stupidly pretty, though, and I enjoyed faffing about with the photo mode, so at least it taxed the PS4 a bit.
18/05 - The Unfinished Swan (PS4) - A highly attractive game, but one that wasn't what I expected. I thought it'd be an austere, visually-coherent artsy affair, but it was another one of those twee, storybook-indie games with awful narration like Trine or Brothers or whatever. I don't understand who it's aimed at. Most kids will find the wandering around slow and boring, and adults will likely find the whole thing pretty simplistic. Eh.
10/05 - Alien Isolation (PS4) - It's so damn good. A perfect retro futuristic recreation of the original film, intense stealth mechanics and an epic journey. Rudi pretty much nailed it with his big post in the GOTY thread, so...errr, what he said.
09/05 - Hohokum (PS4) - My first PS4 game finished, if for no reason other than it was quick to download and pretty short. Enjoyed it, even though it has a complete lack of variety in its interactions. It has a tactile, sensory quality that makes it more like playing a picture book than anything. Lovely soundtrack, too.
01/05 - R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (PS1/VitaTV) - This is about a million times better than most contemporary arcade racers if only for the soundtrack. The fact that you don't so much race as glide elegantly through the courses only makes it all the more special.
30/04 - Splinter Cell (PS3) - In terms of the actual stealthing it was probably the best of the generation, but that isn't saying too much, as it still relies way too much on flawless, easy to execute takedowns and other magic powers, It's the Ubisoft nonsense that hurts the game most, though. UI-mania, a million side missions and unlocks, obnoxious characters talking in a baffling military jargon that so many games seem to fetishise in their scripts these days. It's a tasteless contemporary action game gruel.
27/04 - God of War: Ascension (PS3) - Pretty much by-the-numbers God of War, but with some subtle changes that make QTEs and powers more enjoyable in use. There's some horribly embarrassing stuff around the portrayal of women and the tone continues to be very one note, but I found this a more satisfying playthrough than the last game.
24/04 - Gears of War: Judgement (360) - Makes some sensible changes to the controls and adds some nifty modifiers for those of us that have been playing Gears for years, but fails to wow in any real sense. Looks stunning at times but far too many levels take place in small indoor locations, the four players cramped together. The focus on Horde-esque waves in the campaign and move away from turret sequences of sheer spectacle and frustration is much appreciated, though. AI seemed much better than in 3, too.
21/04 - Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3) - It's so bloody good. Handling is pitched just right, the difficulty curve masterfully implemented and the races are not only fair and legible but also stupidly, chaotically thrilling (something that most arcade racers of the last few years have struggled to balance). The soundtrack is awful shite but there's a custom soundtrack option and the game isn't full of the kind of obnoxious lifestyle bro-dude shit that Forza Horizon suffers from, so it wins the open world arcade racer title for the last gen.
18/04 - Dead Space 3 (PS3) - A lavishly attractive but disappointing end to a series that started incredibly, diluted by the sad compromises that came with each iteration. Dead Space didn't need human enemies, co-op or weird on-rails Space Harrier flying sections, but to the detriment of what made the game special, it got them. There's still some of that tense, cosmic-industrial body horror in places (the ruined flotilla) but there are also near-endless waves of enemies that rush at you, flailing about, putting a stop to the dismemberment combat that set the series apart. Oh, and a potentially great crafting system made too finnicky and costly in a push to sell DLC, so that I made about four guns during my entire playthrough. The ending is laughable garbage, too, but it does look and sound absolutely marvellous in the main, so that's something.
14/04 - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS3) - It's kinda hard to defend the decision to sell a vertical slice of an upcoming game for twenty quid, no matter how replayable it might be. This should've been the intro to The Phantom Pain. It is bloody great, though, and refines many of the things Metal Gear has attempted over the years, to the point that I'm worryingly excited about the main game. Eeeek.
09/04 - Motorstorm Apocalypse (PS3)- Fun things: Destruction-filled speedy arcade racers with lots of vehicles on the track of different shapes and sizes and wooshy weather effects. Fucking annoying things: Clipping some debris you couldn't reasonably be expected to avoid, crashing out, respawning right in front of a wall so that you crash out again, respawning, then having fourteen other drivers smash into you. There's a game almost as good as Split/Second in here but it's difficult to see it sometimes.
07/04 - Resistance 3 (PS3) - A patchwork of ideas from better games, with no deeper, core mechanic tying everything together. It's unmemorable to say the least. Story is corny and it seems a shame to go the post-WWII alien invasion route and then smear everything in brown, dim lighting, but whatever. It's also startlingly low-res, which isn't something I tend to notice too much. Guns are fun enough, though, and it's mindless in an enjoyably '90s kinda way.
06/04 - The Walking Dead Season 2 (PS3) - I get the feeling the writers settled on having Clem as the protagonist before really figuring out how it would work. Too often the adults around her are asking her to resolve problems that I find difficult to imagine a child understanding. It's kinda uncomfortable in places, like when she's blamed for someone's death unfairly. and not in a way that seems intentional. Episodes feel shorter and even less interactive than before, too.
02/04 - The Last of Us (PS3) - I've not really thought too much of Naughty Dogs games, generally, but found this frighteningly absorbing. It's not the deepest thing mechanically, but it is coherent and balanced in its combat in a way that makes every encounter thrilling. Everything to be said about characters and plot is said better elsewhere, but I'll say that the pacing of plot and the ebb and flow of suspense and relief was just about perfect. Probably my favourite third person action-adventure since Resi 4.
13/03 - Guardian Heroes (360) - It's still the greatest of its kind by a long way. Everything about it just has that Treasure magic, from music and animation to, well, everything. The remix mode makes some decent changes, though I couldn't bring myself to use the nasty sprite filter they included. Was lovely revisiting this, though.
12/03 - The Cave (360) - Nice enough adventure-puzzle-platforming thing. The actual puzzles are enjoyable in a simplistic way, and flirt with adventure game logic without too much of the illogical nonsense of old. It's very underwhelming in terms of presentation and writing, though, given the heritage.
10/03 - Catherine (360) - Captivating to the the extent that it surprised me. The narrowed scope on one guy's commitment anxiety and its crazed manifestations plays really well given the initially bizarre combo of chat and block puzzling. The only real criticisms I have are that it needed a better training mode to practice the 'techniques' and the controls can be pretty awkward. Really solid dub as well for the English version and it looks neatly stylish.
09/03 - Papo & Yo (PS3) - A game of measured, clear puzzles and platforming in an interesting little world. I'm always happy when developers play around with abstractions of the game space, so this kept me pretty happy throughout. The ending is a little over-egged but I appreciate the more personal nature of the story than what we usually get. Another little treat from PS+.
06/03 - Thief (PS3) - You can see that they wanted to take some of the template of Human Revolution and apply it to another old PC series, but it doesn't work here. There are neat little ideas and systems but they don't come together in a coherent whole. Though the stealth is often satisfying in a simplistic way, the actual thievery boils down to cupboard searching in most instances and the AI isn't much fun to play about with. There are also loads of naff horror-ish 'visions' as well, which are pretty much the lamest things in AAA games of late. That said, it looks pretty nice even on PS3, and they did a good job of making you feel like someone with a body, rather than just arms floating around in front of the camera.
03/03 - LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3) - Played through the story mode and tried some of the more popular community levels. The story is more a demo of the potential of the level editor, though it's craftily inventive at times. The cumbersome control you have over Sackboy is still present, which is a shame, but it's an enjoyable, ambitious game.
02/03 - Here and There Along The Echo (PC) - A kind of radio play interlude to Kentucky Route Zero, featuring a phone that only dials one number. Gently, weirdly comic and enjoyable tactile to play around with. Will Oldham does the voice acting, which is just perfect, really.
02/03 - Killzone 3 (PS3) - The whole 'genocide LOL' thing is a bit weird and the Space Zyklon gun that makes people explode is never explained at all, but I enjoyed the story of this in a dumb, almost Warhammer 40k kinda way. Actual gunplay is still brutal, heavy and lacking in any kind of depth or finesse, but the game throws enough variety in the way to keep things interesting for a few hours. It does feel like Guerilla are coasting, though.
28/02 - Dead Island (360) - Couldn't bring myself to finish the last few quests, but I'm counting it anyway. Occasionally dreadful atmosphere (in a good way), a laudable variety of environments and meaty melee combat can't disguise the fact that the actual gameplay doesn't change at all throughout the game. There's no development and it lacks a compelling enough feedback loop or plot to pull me through. It's just hitting guys the same way until they fall over.
25/02 - The Wolf Among Us Season 1 (360) - Restarted the whole thing after pausing mid-season about a year ago. Really enjoyed it for what is was; a fun noir with a cute premise. Didn't reach the emotionally engaging heights of The Walking Dead but it did keep me pretty gripped throughout. Optimistic for the next season.
25/02 - SSX (360) - Not finished at all, as I couldn't be bothered to put more than a few hours in. Hated it. Try hard extreme-bro presentation, naff cutscenes and utterly charmless characters. Loathsome, wooly controls and difficult to read slopes that seem throw you off the side to your doom with little warning. Nothing of the joyful arcadey flow of the old games. Urgh.
23/02 - TxK (Vita) - Played sporadically over the last few months. It's lovely to behold and clearly well crafted, but just didn't hook me like I thought it would. Something missing, I guess.
23/02 - Tearaway (Vita) - Marvellous. Just relentlessly throws ideas in front of you, lets you mess around a bit and then moves onto the next lot. It's a perfect demonstration of what creative teams could be doing with the console given the chance. Presentation is sometimes a bit twee ukulele bollocks but never too irritating.
22/02 - Super Stardust Delta (Vita) - Ports the experience well to the handheld, though I had to avoid the touch and motion controls where possible (at least they included the option). Much the same as the PS3 version, really, but that's no bad thing.
20/02 - Luftrausers (Vita) - Thrilling, smart and sharp little blasts of aerial action, using a construction sets of pixel ship parts and a lovely sense of 2D flight. Totally thrilling when you scrape through an intense battle, taking out blimps and battleships in a arc of carnage.
18/02 - Surge Deluxe (Vita) - Tries to use the Vita well and is nicely presented, but this block puzzler completely fails to raise the intensity or the pulse. It's boring more than anything, sadly.
16/02 - Woah Dave (Vita) - Dull, below par Super Crate Box kinda thing that held my attention for less than an hour. Finished as I've seen everything it can do.
16/02 - Wipeout 2048 (Vita) - Mind-bogglingly beautiful, refined future racing with a sensible structure for the handheld. I played this for about ten hours straight on a sleeper train/plane combo across China. If it's the last Wipeout it'll be a fitting farewell.
14/02 - DmC: Vergil's Downfall - Kinda rote DLC, really. Cheap looking animated cut scenes and a naff script don't help, and there's little new added at all. Disappointing.
13/02 - Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet - Fun little twin-stick, kinda light Metroidvania thing that I found surprisingly atmospheric. Really nice sound design throughout. Communicates everything wordlessly yet clearly and when it runs out of ideas it ends neatly.
12/02 - Dragon's Dogma (PS3) - Bombed fifty hours into this in ten days, which is unheard of for me these days. Adored it. There are minor annoyances, but the adventuring and combat is so damn thrilling throughout. Some will find it bland but I found the art style and world to be of a kinda fundamental fantasy that I find appealing in its simplicity.
02/02 - Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episodes 1 & 2 (PS3) - The first episode was too predictable and similar to the main games to be of much note, but I enjoyed the second's foray into stealth, something which Infinite-proper had flirted with briefly and abandoned. Story-wise it seemed too desperate to tie up the loose ends in a Lucas-prequel kinda way, but nothing that caused any major damage in my opinion.
22/01 - DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3) - A divisive game, but one that I felt elegantly adapted the combat and controls of previous games, layered on some genuinely arresting visuals and a plot that was silly in a way that remained interesting. Probably too easy on the default setting but I really, really enjoyed this.
20/01 - Saints Row IV (360) - Hated the opening few hours of this, due mostly to the weak training exercises disguised as missions that have you backtracking repeatedly. It's clearly padded-out DLC throughout, but there's enough of the Prototype-ish chaos to entertain in the most part, and the main quest missions are consistently fun.
15/01 - Crysis 3 (PS3) - Played the second, more linear, game a while back. This one attempts to be a bit more open and succeeds in places, but really funnels you through others. Plot and some of the later environments are hackneyed nonsense, but the bow is fun.
13/01 - Crysis (360) - Lovely open environments in which to piss about, with a thin enough story to keep things ticking along without being a nuisance and a solid set of skills and weapons. Good stuff. Enemies are hawk-eyed little shits, though, able to spot you from a mile off.

2014

October 24th: Borderlands 2 (360) - Really loved this, even playing it solo throughout. I found the original a little undercooked, a little repetitive, but this one just kept throwing fun in front of the player constantly. Some of the quests are blatant padding, the vehicle handling is pretty horrible and once again I could do without the nerdy 'reference' humour, but generally found this really compelling.
October 10th: Heavy Rain (PS3) - I actually really enjoyed the first half of Beyond: Two Souls until it flew off the rails. This one goes the opposite way and does its best to recover from an abysmal, embarrassing opening. I can see what this was trying to do and I'm actually quite keen to see how these narrative experience evolve, but I found most of this poorly written, directed and generally quite boring.
October 3rd: Joe Danger (Vita) - Has a nice, tactile, compulsive feel to it. Shame it only really presents a challenge when going for the pro medals. Individual standard medal challenges just feel like going through the motions, and the scoring system feels too easy to exploit.
September 30th: Frobisher Says (Vita) - Been dabbling with this and the DLC since getting a Vita and it's fun enough for what it is. Basic Warioware-style micro-games that use the Vita's various functions.
September 28th: Resident Evil 6 (PS3) - An absolute mess of a game, but I still managed to get through every campaign. Not sure why, really, other than that I used to adore Resident Evil games. So many poorly implemented and pointless excursions into QTE setpiece nonsense. Capcom need to take a long hard look at what made this series enjoyable, because they've lost their way. Reminds me of Lost Planet 2's bloat and general inability to execute its ideas in anything other than a frustrating, awkward fashion.
September 24th: Puppeteer (PS3) Reminded me a lot of Dynamite Headdy. A solid, enjoyable and lovingly presented game. It's well behind recent Rayman games and Nintendo's stuff in terms of pure platforming, but all the mechanics tie together pretty well. Shame the head-swapping gimmick is really superficial.
September 24th: Proteus (PS3) - Was wandering around, finding this nice enough but a bit underwhelming and then it suddenly started to give me the damn shivers. Weirdly atmospheric in a way that's hard to describe, so I won't.
September 21st: Grand Theft Auto V (PS3) - Nothing to say that hasn't been said a million times. It's the sheer detail and craftmanship of it that impresses, really. It's still struggling with the controls and I wish you could grab people/objects and have more physical interactions with the world, but it never felt truly lacking. Worth the money just for the radio stations, if you ask me. Online refuses to work here in China, unlike most PSN stuff, which is a shame.
August 1st: God of War III (PS3) - Aside from a few spectacular, stand-out boss fights, this may as well have been PS2 game. The combat is functional but dated, the graphics are nice but feel very much like looking at an elaborate diorama, and there's a frustrating amount of padding. Maybe I'll prefer Ascension.
July 27th: Killzone 2 (PS3) - Paint-by-numbers FPS. Looks impressive for a game that's about six years old now, but does absolutely nothing interesting. Shooting is solid enough, AI is fine, but it's bafflingly mediocre for a big budget first party title. Why is the level design so pedestrian? Why is the player character so short? Why would anyone care about this game?
July 22nd: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3) - Found the first few hours of this really weak. Treacle-paced and fragmented, with loads of weak puzzles and tepid action sequences. If this series is going to be a linear spectacle it may as well do it with some gusto, which thankfully it starts to do in the latter half. The things I disliked in the first two games are all there, though. Armoured-up bullet sponges, poorly designed arenas, wooly aiming, auto climbing. The fact that Naughty Dog persist with the whole running-into-the-camera nonsense is fucking ridiculous, too. It's all nicely presented, though, I'll give it that.
July 15th: Alan Wake's American Nightmare (360) - It's not bad, but the story mode felt a bit lifeless and lacking in challenge. The excuse for tracking through the same environments three times felt flimsy and clichéd, and it failed to evoke the creepiness of Wake's main game. Arcade action mode seems fine but having to unlock weapons through the campaign collectathon turned me off.
July 11th: Motorstorm RC (Vita) - Furiously addictive little game. Wish it didn't dangle DLC stuff in your face all the time but it's no biggie. Rinsed through the main game and will eventually get around to doing everything, but I'm done for now.
July 3rd: LocoRoco (PSP) - A few hours of squishy-squashy joy. I have no problem with games that are tactile audio-visual delights more than they are mechanically deep. The flaws are there in the controls, which I found myself fighting during the more fiddly platforming sections, and the idea of replaying every level over and over to collect everything fills me with dread, but as a one-shot playthrough it was a lovely.
June 30th: Muramasa Rebirth (Vita) - Beautiful-looking and frequently thrilling game with solid combat mechanics. The story is weak but the translators have done their best with what was given to them, with some genuinely surprising and funny lines.
June 26th: Sound Shapes (Vita) - Found it a bit of a disappointment, really, but that might be my own fault. I thought the music would respond to the way I played, but really it's just triggering stuff in a linear way. That's fine but not terribly exciting. It does look and sound bloody lovely, though. The Jim Guthrie/Superbrothers levels are particularly wonderful. Level editor seems pretty decent and the community have made some nice stuff, I just don't have time for all that is all.
June 21st: Pixeljunk Shoter Ultimate (Vita) - A well-balanced, varied game that surprised me with how many little ideas it had. The fluid physics are impressive, while the visuals are simple but appealing and very readable. The only major issue was that sometimes an enemy would fly into me from the side of the screen with no warning, just as I was about to finish a level. Great game, though.
June 15th: Gravity Rush (Vita) - A beautiful little gem of a game. It doesn't do anything outrageously new, nor does it do everything perfectly, but it's one of the few open world-ish games in recent years that's captivated me enough to finish all the side quests. I dunno how long I spent just shifting around the city, freefalling and catching myself at the last minute. It's so relaxing. Made with love, this one.
June 14th: Hotline Miami (Vita) - Played this ages ago on my laptop, but it buggy as fuck. This was much better, and surprisngly well suited to the Vita's controls. It's just ridiculously satisying kicking down doors and fucking up everyone's day, and in such a perfectly gross, bleary, nauseating world.
May 24th: Prototype 2 (360) - The pinnacle of the smash-the-crap-out-of-everything open world games, at least as far as I've played. Takes the template of the first, fixes some of the frustrations like being attacked from off screen all the time and lets you run riot. Story is bobbins but it rattles along at a fair clip so it hardly matters. Surprisingly good looking, too.
May 20th: Asura's Wrath (360) - QTEs annoy the shit out of me when they're thrown into the likes of Halo 4 for no particular reason, but often find myself letting it go if the game is built around them. I had a lot of time for From Software's Ninja Blade and this isn't too dissimilar, really. Basic action game scrapping, big QTEs and dumb set pieces. It's a flawed curio for sure, but there's something hilarious about millions being spent on this barely interactive vanity project in which a a man has a hissy fit every three minutes and punches everything to bits.
May 19th: Rock of Ages (360) - A decent game, but one that needed a bit more work to really make the most of the concept. I always felt too rushed to strategise in any meaningful way between rounds, so I'd end up randomly chucking towers around so I could get the next boulder rolling. Still, it's unique in its presentation and I had a few hours of fun with it. Not too shabby at all.
May 10th: Kentucky Route Zero: Act III (PC) - It's just so eerily evocative of... something. One of the few games with a genuine sense of mystery to it. All you really do is colour the story as you go through, but it's so confident in taking its time, letting you bathe in its oddness, that it doesn't matter. There's one scene in this act that is among the best I've ever experienced. Lovely.
May 8th: Syndicate (PS3) - Nowt much to do with the old games, but that doesn't bother me much. Seems like they just tacked the name on to a typical Starbreeze shooter about half way through development or something. It has that really physical brutality that they're so good at, and using the active reload mechanic from Gears as an attack is pretty neat, but it's otherwise really forgettable. Oh, and the bloom is bloody ridiculous.
May 6th: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) - So much better than the first game it's unreal. Everything polished until it gleams, few bullshit instadeaths out of nowhere and some damn fine set-pieces. It's such a shame I find Drake one of the most repellent characters ever created, as the game seems to think he's charming or something.
May 4th: Rayman Legends (PS3) - Absolutely bloody pristine platforming. The only one in recent years that's come even close to Nintendo's best. Such a shame this seems to have sold fuck all, because it feels so well crafted.
April 29th: Saints Row: The Third (PS3) - Steamed through the story missions, couldn't be arsed with the filler. This is true of most open world games for me, these days, so it's no big deal. Though much of the zany American humour fell flat for me, I bloody loved the main missions and found the game full of so many satisfying little moments, like jumping straight off the side of the penthouse, parachuting at the last second and then bombing through the windscreen to pinch a car. Feels good, man.
April 24th: Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) - It's a bit of a mess, there are too many cut-scenes, too many turret sections, the bosses aren't as good as they should be and it all feels a little bit archaic BUT... I bloody love Metal Gear games.. I like tinkering with them, finding the little quirks they've included if you play around with the items and enemies. I'd take a lesser Kojima Metal Gear over your standard action fodder any day. It's really no Snake Eater, though.
April 21st: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3) - Pretty much hated the first half of this. Stiff, dull combat with the occasional bit of automatic jumping, interrupted only by something popping up and killing me out of nowhere or Drake completely failing to do what I asked. The plots not even very good, really, and I was lead to believe was quite well done. Picks up the pace a bit in the latter half but even then it felt a bit shonky. Everyone says the sequels are better though. We'll see.
March 27th: Noby Noby Boy (PS3) - Daft little toy thing, but I found myself messing around with it for way longer than expected. Rough around the edges but really charming and amusing at times. Controls are mental, though.
March 27th: Guacamelee (PS3) - Really nicely drawn and concise Metroidvania with nifty combat. Didn't really notice the difficulty spikes I'd read about, just had to watch the attack patterns of some of the later bosses. Could've done without the naff memes and games references scattered about, but you can't have everything I suppose. I had a really enjoyable couple of evenings with this.
March 25th: Flower (PS3) - Looks like a fabric softener advert and the music is occasionally a bit 'early-90s motivational video', so why is this so bloody lovely? I dunno, but it is. Relaxing in a way that games so rarely attempt, let alone achieve. Kinda wish it wouldn't grab the camera to show something happening when you're mid-'flow', but it's no biggie.
March 24th: Flow (PS3) - A pretty mesmerising experience while it lasted, and I'm glad they were smart enough not to drag it out longer than the concept deserved. Enjoyed one of the later creature that had me dashing around, gorging on other creatures in a ravenous blood-lust.
March 24th: Rain (PS3) - A simple, slight but very charming little game in which you find yourself visible only under rainfall whilst evading a seemingly immortal monster. There's nothing mechanically original about it, and the presentation is a little cloying at times, but it all hangs together very well. Reminded me of Clock Tower for some reason.
March 21st: Killer is Dead (PS3) - By the numbers Grasshopper, really, which is bit of a disappointment as I usually love their games. The combat is simple yet satisfying, but it lacks the madcap daftness of Lollipop Chainsaw and Shadows of the Damned for which I forgave those games their flaws. Here, it's disjointed action vignettes punctuated by self-consciously zany cut-scenes, when really I yearned for Killer7's pervasive weirdness. Gigolo missions seem more like clumsily executed Bond parody than works of outright misogyny they've been reported as, but are still boring and unnecessary. Bosses were mad fun, though.
March 17th: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut (PS3) - An enjoyable game. Nice to play something that lets you play at your own pace, even if it does feel like you're faffing about when the narrative is telling you to hurry the fuck up. Mass Effect has the same problem, though. Good things: Enjoyable stealth, interesting upgrades, decent dialogue, looks pretty nice. Bad things: Bosses are shit, ropey cut-scenes, repetitive hacking and locations, meandering plot. A solid foundation for a follow up, I reckon.
March 10th: Tomb Raider (PS3) - Does so many things well yet disappoints equally. There's a better, more open and more ambitious game in there, somewhere. The entire hunting/camping/crafting side of things has little to no underlying systems yet feel like they should, while the traversal is slick but streamlined to the point of being inconsequential. Combat is satisfying due to the auto-cover and the wonderful bow and shotgun, but the arc of 'traumatised by first self-defence kill' to 'wiped out about a thousand guys because survival' feels really weird and gross. Could've done with cutting out about half of the enemies and going for more abandoned spaces. Still, the animation is lovely, I found the plot engagingly silly for most of it and the soundtrack is some primitive Einsturzende Neubauten industrial thing in places. Highs and lows.
March 5th: LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3) - An under-appreciated game, I feel. It loses some of ModNation's more unique approach to kart racing but gains the vastly more appealing world and powerful creation tools of LBP. A fair trade, I reckon. Inherits some of LBP's woolliness in the controller response, which is a shame, but the story mode was pretty enjoyable throughout. Some really neat community levels to mess around in, too.
March 3rd: Journey (PS3) - ...aaaand from the ridiculous to the utterly sublime. A stunning work, it really is. Visually it's along the lines of Gwen, ou le Livre de Sable or some of Moebius' desert vistas, which would probably be enough for me. The fact that it's also a brilliant, brilliant game is the most wonderful bonus. The feeling of companionship you have with other players is genuine but also really difficult to explain, as is the rather odd sensation of loss when you lose someone. I won't go into more detail for fear of spoiling it, but it's one of the only games that I would consider perfect.
March 3rd: Beyond: Two Souls (PS3) - I don't really mind these narrative experiences and I thought the initial third of the game was pretty great, to be honest. Genuinely enjoyed some of the sequences in which you're on the run. Then it flies off the rails and never recovers, mostly through bad writing, but the gameplay, as flimsy as it is to begin with, never really evolves at all. Oh, and they do that thing where they put a bunch of racial caricatures in a game and then invent a country in an attempt to make it all okay. Fuck off.
Feb 28th: XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PS3) - Favourite thing I've played all year, this. Played Normal Ironman a found it just wonderfully absorbing and utterly gutting when you'd lose a long-serving squad member. A few technical problems with the camera but nothing too distracting. Heading back in soon for another run...
Feb 21st: FTL (PC) - Put about ten hours in and probably done with this. Utterly and completely absorbing while its charms lasted, but the randomness of it just wore me out after a while. Nothing wrong with it, as the brutality is the nature of the thing, but I just don't have the will continue.
Feb 21st: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 (360) - A bit flat and lifeless, this episode. Minimal interaction even by Telltale standards and few decisions seems to be of real consequence. Hopefully it picks up again. Still bloody love the score.
Feb 15th: Bioshock Infinite (PS3) - I loved it. It would've been nice to have a few more open arenas and a little more response from the enemies when you hit them, but I don't get the harsh criticisms of the combat. Swinging around on the skyrails was endless fun, bounding off and chucking some vigors all over the shop I found some of the old ultra-violence a bit off, but it's a small matter. More than anything I admire its ambition, and Levine done good in my book.
Feb 11th: Metro: Last Light (PS3) - I absolutely loved this, if for nothing other than the atmosphere and sense of place. I do have a weakness for grim Russian apocalypses and atomic mysticism, though. There are faults, like the overpowered stealth, linearity and abundance of supplies, but it all came together well. Would appreciate more freedom to wander the surface in a follow-up. Here's hoping.
Feb 8th: Remember Me (PS3) - A game of linear traversal and simple, satisfying combat. Punctuated nicely by the memory remixes, which were interesting even though they failed to live up to their potential. Other than that, I enjoyed the story, found it looked spectacular throughout and thought it had some neat ideas (like the customisable combo strings).
Jan 29th: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360) - The story was jingoistic rambling nonsense, and half the game felt like a tutorial for multiplayer or something, but it perked up once it let you have some freedom. Nice to see a game that accommodates different strategies, if only in certain sections.
Jan 27th: Shoot Many Robots (360) - Abandoning this but I kinda consider it finished as I've almost certainly seen everything it has to offer. Generic 2D run-and-gunner with an admirable number of levels and upgrades but a woeful lack of variety throughout. Boring.
Jan 27th: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (360) - A somewhat confused but heartfelt 80s pastiche. I reckon I'd have preferred it if they'd played it straight, to be honest. Could've done without the lazy internet meme humour, too. Enjoyed the boosted pace and lack of fall damage but wish they hadn't walled-off the bases as it seemed to limit the ways in which you could approach them. Feels like an idea that could be better fleshed out with a sequel, though.
Jan 27th: You Will Die Alone At Sea (PC) - Spend a minute floating in a red wireframe ocean, doing nowt. I have a fair tolerance for pointless indie curios but this does nothing and says nothing. At least has the decency to so succinctly.
Jan 25th: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 (360) - An intriguing story, remarkably well executed visually, with a neatly understated synth-pulse of a score. I was bound to like this. I see the recent Telltale games more like choose-your-own-adventure books than the point-and-clicks of the past, and enjoy them on those terms. Besides, I always hated the obtuse puzzles of most adventure games so I'm glad those are out.
Jan 24th: Spec Ops: The Line (360) - By-the-numbers gameplay that disguises (or allows for) a surprisingly subversive take on the strange appeal that video game conflict has to so many. Or at least, that's how I read it. The execution is a little uneven but it's encouraging to see a big budget title try to tackle these things.
Jan 18th: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD (360) - Not a bad take on the 2D Castlevania formula. Having three playable characters might have been more interesting if they'd had significantly different weapons and move sets, and I wish they'd gone with the art style in the cut-scenes, but the combat was pretty decent. Story is too boring to mention in any detail.
Jan 14th: Deadlight (360) - This has possibly the worst writing and voice acting I've encountered in a long, long while, along with too much trial-and-error bullshit and inexplicably unresponsive controls. The last one isn't too much of an issue when the game lets you move around at your own pace, but once it starts expecting you to perform flawlessly at speed the game falls apart. A shame because there's a decent contemporary Flashback-style platformer in there, somewhere.
Jan 14th: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (360) - Curious little game with some neat, simplistic ideas coming and going before outstaying their welcome. Wasn't convinced the storytelling was much more than a generic mishmash of over-familiar fairy tales, but it was enjoyable enough.
Jan 13th: Halo 4 (360) - Really, really enjoyed this, but I always enjoy Halo. Nothing drastically different and sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. I had certain problems with the Prometheans, as I always seemed to end up fighting them in much the same way, but nothing that can't be ironed out in the next one.
Jan 6th: Outland (360) - Love the animation and fluidity of movement in general. Probably could've done with a heavier emphasis on the Metroidvania side of things and I almost lost patience with the final boss, but a solid, enjoyable game.
Jan 4th: A Dark Room (Browser) - Finished in the sense that I got bored of waiting for something interesting to happen. Not even sure if there is an ending. I'm not averse to text-based games but there are better uses of my time than watching numbers go up, waiting for a smidgen of revealing information somewhere down the line.
Jan 3rd: Night Rider Turbo (Browser) - Basically EnviroBear 2000: Operation Hibernation with an 80s vibe. Pretty funny for a few minutes.
Jan 2nd: Peggle Nights (360) - It's more Peggle. Nowt more to add, really.
Jan 2nd: I Am Alive (360) - It tried hard, but ended up being a pretty hollow experience. Archaic in most areas and the combat never really lived up to its potential. I liked that climbing actually a required a bit of thought and effort, though.
Jan 1st: Dishonored (360) - Beautiful, fascinating and a bit flawed. Felt it gave you a vast arsenal of stuff for a chaotic play-through but was lacking interesting stealth options. Probably still one of my most enjoyed games of recent years.

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01/01/15 - Pokemon Y (3DS)
04/01/15 - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
11/01/15 - Tearaway (VITA)
13/01/15 - The Swapper (VITA)
20/01/15 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (VITA)
22/01/15 - Shovel Knight (Wii U)
24/01/15 - Machinarium (VITA)
31/01/15 - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
08/02/15 - 80 Days (Android)
15/02/15 - Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
19/03/15 - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (3DS)
11/14/15 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
03/07/15 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

19/07/15 - Gone Home (PC)

19/07/15 - The Stanley Parable (PC)

20/07/15 - Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)

21/07/15 - Hohokum (VITA)

I'm off work with the missus away so am smashing through games at the moment. This was a relaxing way to spend four hours, though, as much as I appreciated the lack of hand-holding, it definitely would have benefited from having a map: even Fez, another wilfully obscure game, had a map.

Recommended for those who like Where's Wally books. And sperm.

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23/07/2015 - World of Goo (PC)

I've just this minute finished this. What a great game! It's been sitting in my Steam library, unplayed, for the last six years. I'm kicking myself for not playing it sooner. Definitely one to try.

Previously this year:

01/01/15 - Pokemon Y (3DS)
04/01/15 - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
11/01/15 - Tearaway (VITA)
13/01/15 - The Swapper (VITA)
20/01/15 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (VITA)
22/01/15 - Shovel Knight (Wii U)
24/01/15 - Machinarium (VITA)
31/01/15 - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
08/02/15 - 80 Days (Android)
15/02/15 - Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
19/03/15 - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (3DS)
11/14/15 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
03/07/15 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

19/07/15 - Gone Home (PC)

19/07/15 - The Stanley Parable (PC)

20/07/15 - Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)

21/07/15 - Hohokum (VITA)

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Boom! 52 Game Challenge smashed (with 53):

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Earlier

South Park : The stick of truth

Defense Grid : The awakening (again), plus campaign modes of all the DLC.

Realms of the haunting

Red Faction Armageddon

Kirby's Epic Yarn

Fire Emblem : New mystery of the emblem - Heroes of Light and shadow

Final Fantasy VII

Pullblox

The Legend Of Zelda: Train Cunt

zelda Majora's mask 3d

among the sleep

brothers: a tale of two sons

Oh at some point, maybe,just over a week ago I finished

valkyria chronicles

and then a couple of days ago I finished one playthrough of

eternal darkness but not want to play three times for the special ending. You can just watch it on youtube.

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26/07/15 - Another World (PC)

I stayed up until about one last night playing this and finished it off this morning. I was a year old when it was released and had never even heard of it until relatively recently, when it popped up in a few 'best games ever' polls.

Completing it 24 years after its release, the fiddly controls, instadeath trial and error gameplay as well as some poorly-signposted puzzles, that all but required a guide for me to figure out, make it a difficult game to recommend to new players who won't benefit from any nostalgic rose-tinting. That said, once I'd started, knowing it was only a few hours long, I felt compelled to complete it through sheer bloody-mindedness, and the well-designed checkpoints (most of the time) coupled with the instant restarts make it difficult to stop playing. The oppressive atmosphere and sense of hopelessness are also impressive, even more so when you think that the whole thing looks like it's been drawn in MS Paint.

One of the best games ever, though? I guess you had to be there.

Previously this year:

01/01/15 - Pokemon Y (3DS)
04/01/15 - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
11/01/15 - Tearaway (VITA)
13/01/15 - The Swapper (VITA)
20/01/15 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (VITA)
22/01/15 - Shovel Knight (Wii U)
24/01/15 - Machinarium (VITA)
31/01/15 - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
08/02/15 - 80 Days (Android)
15/02/15 - Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
19/03/15 - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (3DS)
11/14/15 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
03/07/15 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

19/07/15 - Gone Home (PC)

19/07/15 - The Stanley Parable (PC)

20/07/15 - Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)

21/07/15 - Hohokum (VITA)

23/07/15 - World of Goo (PC)

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Velocity 2x. Wanted to enjoy it but found it a bit flat, though I think my mind is elsewhere.

2015

27/07 - Velocity 2X (Vita) - Couldn't really get into this properly, though I suspect that's just a mood thing. Everything about it is super refined and compelling and yet it never got its hooks into me. Plot seems a bit redundant but the music is super swish. Might give it another run later.

22/07 - Metrico (Vita) - Another game that falls over itself in its attempts to use all of the Vita's functions. Parts of this are neat enough, with a sharp look and devious little puzzles, but the infographic aesthetic leaves me cold and the need for simultaneous back-and-front touch gestures, motion control and button presses mean you end up twisting and contorting uncomfortably for fairly long stretches.

21/07 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita) - Or, Uncharted: Lowered Expectations Edition. Just because a AAA console game can technically be shoehorned into a handheld doesn't make it a worthwhile endeavour. In fairness, Drake is more bearable than usual and his relationship with Sully is still kinda charming, but this takes the flimsy combat and ropey climbing of the first game, takes out all the big set-pieces and crams touch and gyroscope crap between every five minutes of action. More than anything I'd describe this as boring, which is a stunning failure, really.

18/07 - Sine Mora (Vita) - Stupendously attractive for a handheld game and with some neat systems built around time limits and manipulation. Not the greatest schmup I've played but a surprisingly lavish one in this day and age. Weirdly pretentious story filler, though.

17/07 - Badland (Android) - The whole 'tap to flap/float/whatever' genre leaves me pretty cold to be honest. This has some nice ideas but like with Jetpack Joyride and others I got bored quickly. Presntation is weirdly dull and distant in a way I found unengaging, too.

17/07 - 80 Days (Android) - I did two runs through in a single sitting, which probably tells you how much I enjoyed it. Well written, unique choose-your-own-adventure game with some lovely sound design.

16/07 - Destiny (PS4) - I bought the base game and the two expansions together and it's a damn good game, Destiny, with probably the best feel of any shooter I've played. Everything about the experience is super slick, evocative and utterly intoxicating. The feel of controlling a sparrow or firing a hand cannon into a Fallen's face is so, so perfect it's hard to describe. There's not enough of it, though, and the manipulative stuff they've used to keep you playing is pretty sinister in its potency. I've never been one to get lured in by the promise of random loot drops, but this was starting to get its claws into me in a way that I find concerning, so we're done (for now...)

10/07 - Entwined (PS4) - Pretentious nonsense attempting to mimic thatgamecompany and falling flat in every way. Nasty new age rubbish with a single dull mechanic and unpleasant free-flight controls that it obviously considers a 'reward' at the end of each level.

19/06 - Never Alone (PS4) - A worthy enough idea, combining the indie game and the documentary, but neither side is particularly satisfactory in and of itself. A cumbersome platformer with occasionally stubborn movement and few interesting ideas doesn't particularly inspire me to learn about a culture. Looks really nice, though.

19/06 - Dead Nation (PS4) - Solid twin-stick shooter with a solid arsenal of weapons and enough variety to keep things fresh. Still looks very PS3 in its visuals but the lighting is nice enough. Not sure why they even bothered with the story, though.

17/06 - Shadow Warrior (PS4) - Ridiculous 90s mega-carnage sprint-everywhere fuck-em-up. A genuinely brilliant update of an old classic and shows how Duke Nukem should've been done. Garish in a charming way and occasionally quite pretty, with a daft, funny script and varied, powerful set of weapons. Didn't like it when I'd accidentally dash down some stairs and kill myself from fall damage, but that's my own fault. Ending goes on forever, too.

15/06 - Costume Quest 2 (PS4) - It's barely more involving than the first in terms of the battle system and quests, and there's too much back-tracking and fetch-questing for such a short game, but there's so much to love about Costume Quest. Funny little script, a cute premise about a dental hygeine dystopia in which candy is illegal make it a winner for me.

13/06 - Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4) - Man, I loved this. Somehow manages to be both funny and poignant at the same time as brutal and dumb. Both stealth and boom-bang approaches are satisfying and the whole 'kill the commander' system is inspired. Sound mix is a bit off and recharging the energy weapons is tiresome, but there's just moment after moment of brilliance in this.

11/06 - The Swapper (Vita/PS4) - Enjoyed the look and feel of this but had to give it up after a point. Puzzles were wrecking my head and cheating didn't sound like much fun, so it's done with for now. Really nce atmosphere, though.

09/06 - Resogun (Vita/PS4) - Played this across both formats. Furiously addictive and visually astonishing. Holds up surprisingly well on the Vita, and only really loses the whizzy effects.

08/06 - Futuridium EP (Vita) - Shit, boring concept that should never have made it past the demo stage. Gave it half an hour.

08/06 - The Binding of Isaac Rebirth (Vita) - It was great on PC and it's still great. The new art style is nice but doesn't blow me away or anything, but the music is pretty sweet.

08/06 - Modnation Racers (Vita) - Horrendously ugly and the frame rate is so bad it's like looking at a zoetrope. Dull races that have no sense of urgency or thrill.

08/06 - Titan Attacks! (Vita) - Dull, ugly 'update' of Space Invaders that no one asked for or needed in a post-Space Invaders Extreme world. Pointless.

07/06 - Kick & Fennick (Vita) - Ugly game in terms of art style and visually monotonous, but I like the core concept of using recoil to bounce around. Good little game.

07/06 - Monster Bag (Vita) - One of those games that probably only exists because Sony need to fund quick little games to throw on PS+ every month, and one that has very few mechanical ideas, but it's nicely presented and makes the most of its core concept.

06/06 - Murasaki Baby (Vita) - Some of the touch controls don't work too well and the spooky-wooky Tim Burton style does nothing for me, but I enjoyed some of the novelty of this. Doesn't run its ideas into the ground and left me satisfied enough.

06/06 - Race the Sun (Vita) - Boring as hell endless....flyer? I dunno how people play this shit. Has that flat shaded polygonal style that's back in vogue for indie games but does nothing interesting with it.

06/06 - Killzone Mercenary (Vita) - Shouldn't really work on a handheld, and the sticks struggle a bit with aiming and turning in general, but this is somehow the most enjoyable Killzone of the lot. Neat little bursts of shooty brutality. Gets a bit flickery with the frame-rate but it's an impressive technical feat.

04/06 - Battlefield 4 (PS4) - Indistinguishable from every other military FPS campaign I've played in the last however-many years. Sound and visuals are super impressive but that's about it, really. The whole plot is baffling and vaguely offensive at times, and I have to wish they wouldn't keep wasting resources on this stuff. I'll keep playing the multiplayer until the next one is out, mind.

03/06 - Alien Isolation: Crew Expendable/Last Survivor DLC (PS4) - Slight and adds nothing new to the actual gameplay, but there's a thrill and novelty in the attempt to render the latter half of the movie in game form. Worth the few quid I paid for it.

03/06 - Counterspy (PS4) - Neat Saul Bass-ish visuals and twangy soundtrack for a game with an interesting Xcom-lite structure and fun action platforming. Enjoyed pretty much everything about this, so will have a few runs more on the Vita version whilst I'm on holiday next week.

03/06 - Aaru's Awakening (PS4) - Has a beautiful hand-animated style that really deserves to be seen and....little else. Awkward controls, poor level design and annoying bosses. There are some neat ideas with the teleporting but it's badly implemented. made it as far as the last boss (I think) and gave up. Life's too short.

03/06 - Tower of Guns (PS4) - Yeah, I didn't finish this either, but I did play long enough to work out what it is. FPS rougue-like level-up blah blah blah. It's pretty boring, really, though there's something about its rough N64 look that I quite like, for some reason.

03/06 - Secret Ponchos (PS4) - Was interested in this but couldn't find anyone to actually play against. It's dead, I guess.

02/06 - Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS4) - I never would've bought this, being a non-SNK/Capcom 2D fighter themed around a universe I care nothing about, but it was surprisingly fun. I only played through the story mode, though, having no desire to master it enough to play online. It's charmingly daft and the cutscenes are awful but I've wasted my time on worse.

02/06 -Valiant Hearts - The Great War (PS4) - Tonally this veers all over the place, unable to decide if it's some slapstick steampunk lark or a grim, sober retelling of historical facts. The art style is nice but I found it jarred badly with the photos of really facial disfiguration and bodies in the menus, and the bloodless presentation and timid storytelling often came across as dishonest. There's a serviceable but dull adventure puzzle game underneath it all, but that's faint praise.

29/05 - Transistor (PS4) - Loved pretty much everything about this, from its art nouveau/deco/cyberpunk hybrid art style and loungey electronic score, through to the well-realised, unique battle system. Found it utterly captivating to the point that I played it in two sittings, and I wasn't massively taken by Bastion. Highly recommended.

27/05 - Strider (PS4) - One of those games that just has the sheer joy of interaction and motion to it. Cartwheeling over some dudes and unleashing a barrage of swooshy sword attacks never gets old. The metroidvania stuff is very light and they don't even bother with a plot as such (probably for the best), but for half an hour every few nights this was golden. Music was a bit underwhelming, though.

26/05 - Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare (PS4) - Wonderfully well crafted. I bombed hours into this without blinking, it was so bloody compelling. This is that rarity in online gaming in that I rarely felt cheated or frustrated by other players, so it's shame that people only play a handful of modes, then, as they all seem fun in their own way.

26/05 - Pix the Cat (PS4) - Colourfully presented in an effort to convince you it's fun. It isn't, though, unless you like memorising routes and repeating them from scratch each time you make a slight error in order to have the chance of a decent high score, which is the focus of the entire game. Played for about two hours and it barely deserved that.

18/05 - Infamous: Second Son (PS4) - It's basically Prototype or Saints Row IV but not as fun and more repetitive. All the powers are much the same and I barely bothered with the side missions because Sucker Punch had barely bothered to put any effort into them. It is stupidly pretty, though, and I enjoyed faffing about with the photo mode, so at least it taxed the PS4 a bit.

18/05 - The Unfinished Swan (PS4) - A highly attractive game, but one that wasn't what I expected. I thought it'd be an austere, visually-coherent artsy affair, but it was another one of those twee, storybook-indie games with awful narration like Trine or Brothers or whatever. I don't understand who it's aimed at. Most kids will find the wandering around slow and boring, and adults will likely find the whole thing pretty simplistic. Eh.

10/05 - Alien Isolation (PS4) - It's so damn good. A perfect retro futuristic recreation of the original film, intense stealth mechanics and an epic journey. Rudi pretty much nailed it with his big post in the GOTY thread, so...errr, what he said.

09/05 - Hohokum (PS4) - My first PS4 game finished, if for no reason other than it was quick to download and pretty short. Enjoyed it, even though it has a complete lack of variety in its interactions. It has a tactile, sensory quality that makes it more like playing a picture book than anything. Lovely soundtrack, too.

01/05 - R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (PS1/VitaTV) - This is about a million times better than most contemporary arcade racers if only for the soundtrack. The fact that you don't so much race as glide elegantly through the courses only makes it all the more special.

30/04 - Splinter Cell (PS3) - In terms of the actual stealthing it was probably the best of the generation, but that isn't saying too much, as it still relies way too much on flawless, easy to execute takedowns and other magic powers, It's the Ubisoft nonsense that hurts the game most, though. UI-mania, a million side missions and unlocks, obnoxious characters talking in a baffling military jargon that so many games seem to fetishise in their scripts these days. It's a tasteless contemporary action game gruel.

27/04 - God of War: Ascension (PS3) - Pretty much by-the-numbers God of War, but with some subtle changes that make QTEs and powers more enjoyable in use. There's some horribly embarrassing stuff around the portrayal of women and the tone continues to be very one note, but I found this a more satisfying playthrough than the last game.

24/04 - Gears of War: Judgement (360) - Makes some sensible changes to the controls and adds some nifty modifiers for those of us that have been playing Gears for years, but fails to wow in any real sense. Looks stunning at times but far too many levels take place in small indoor locations, the four players cramped together. The focus on Horde-esque waves in the campaign and move away from turret sequences of sheer spectacle and frustration is much appreciated, though. AI seemed much better than in 3, too.

21/04 - Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3) - It's so bloody good. Handling is pitched just right, the difficulty curve masterfully implemented and the races are not only fair and legible but also stupidly, chaotically thrilling (something that most arcade racers of the last few years have struggled to balance). The soundtrack is awful shite but there's a custom soundtrack option and the game isn't full of the kind of obnoxious lifestyle bro-dude shit that Forza Horizon suffers from, so it wins the open world arcade racer title for the last gen.

18/04 - Dead Space 3 (PS3) - A lavishly attractive but disappointing end to a series that started incredibly, diluted by the sad compromises that came with each iteration. Dead Space didn't need human enemies, co-op or weird on-rails Space Harrier flying sections, but to the detriment of what made the game special, it got them. There's still some of that tense, cosmic-industrial body horror in places (the ruined flotilla) but there are also near-endless waves of enemies that rush at you, flailing about, putting a stop to the dismemberment combat that set the series apart. Oh, and a potentially great crafting system made too finnicky and costly in a push to sell DLC, so that I made about four guns during my entire playthrough. The ending is laughable garbage, too, but it does look and sound absolutely marvellous in the main, so that's something.

14/04 - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS3) - It's kinda hard to defend the decision to sell a vertical slice of an upcoming game for twenty quid, no matter how replayable it might be. This should've been the intro to The Phantom Pain. It is bloody great, though, and refines many of the things Metal Gear has attempted over the years, to the point that I'm worryingly excited about the main game. Eeeek.

09/04 - Motorstorm Apocalypse (PS3)- Fun things: Destruction-filled speedy arcade racers with lots of vehicles on the track of different shapes and sizes and wooshy weather effects. Fucking annoying things: Clipping some debris you couldn't reasonably be expected to avoid, crashing out, respawning right in front of a wall so that you crash out again, respawning, then having fourteen other drivers smash into you. There's a game almost as good as Split/Second in here but it's difficult to see it sometimes.

07/04 - Resistance 3 (PS3) - A patchwork of ideas from better games, with no deeper, core mechanic tying everything together. It's unmemorable to say the least. Story is corny and it seems a shame to go the post-WWII alien invasion route and then smear everything in brown, dim lighting, but whatever. It's also startlingly low-res, which isn't something I tend to notice too much. Guns are fun enough, though, and it's mindless in an enjoyably '90s kinda way.

06/04 - The Walking Dead Season 2 (PS3) - I get the feeling the writers settled on having Clem as the protagonist before really figuring out how it would work. Too often the adults around her are asking her to resolve problems that I find difficult to imagine a child understanding. It's kinda uncomfortable in places, like when she's blamed for someone's death unfairly. and not in a way that seems intentional. Episodes feel shorter and even less interactive than before, too.

02/04 - The Last of Us (PS3) - I've not really thought too much of Naughty Dogs games, generally, but found this frighteningly absorbing. It's not the deepest thing mechanically, but it is coherent and balanced in its combat in a way that makes every encounter thrilling. Everything to be said about characters and plot is said better elsewhere, but I'll say that the pacing of plot and the ebb and flow of suspense and relief was just about perfect. Probably my favourite third person action-adventure since Resi 4.

13/03 - Guardian Heroes (360) - It's still the greatest of its kind by a long way. Everything about it just has that Treasure magic, from music and animation to, well, everything. The remix mode makes some decent changes, though I couldn't bring myself to use the nasty sprite filter they included. Was lovely revisiting this, though.

12/03 - The Cave (360) - Nice enough adventure-puzzle-platforming thing. The actual puzzles are enjoyable in a simplistic way, and flirt with adventure game logic without too much of the illogical nonsense of old. It's very underwhelming in terms of presentation and writing, though, given the heritage.

10/03 - Catherine (360) - Captivating to the the extent that it surprised me. The narrowed scope on one guy's commitment anxiety and its crazed manifestations plays really well given the initially bizarre combo of chat and block puzzling. The only real criticisms I have are that it needed a better training mode to practice the 'techniques' and the controls can be pretty awkward. Really solid dub as well for the English version and it looks neatly stylish.

09/03 - Papo & Yo (PS3) - A game of measured, clear puzzles and platforming in an interesting little world. I'm always happy when developers play around with abstractions of the game space, so this kept me pretty happy throughout. The ending is a little over-egged but I appreciate the more personal nature of the story than what we usually get. Another little treat from PS+.

06/03 - Thief (PS3) - You can see that they wanted to take some of the template of Human Revolution and apply it to another old PC series, but it doesn't work here. There are neat little ideas and systems but they don't come together in a coherent whole. Though the stealth is often satisfying in a simplistic way, the actual thievery boils down to cupboard searching in most instances and the AI isn't much fun to play about with. There are also loads of naff horror-ish 'visions' as well, which are pretty much the lamest things in AAA games of late. That said, it looks pretty nice even on PS3, and they did a good job of making you feel like someone with a body, rather than just arms floating around in front of the camera.

03/03 - LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3) - Played through the story mode and tried some of the more popular community levels. The story is more a demo of the potential of the level editor, though it's craftily inventive at times. The cumbersome control you have over Sackboy is still present, which is a shame, but it's an enjoyable, ambitious game.

02/03 - Here and There Along The Echo (PC) - A kind of radio play interlude to Kentucky Route Zero, featuring a phone that only dials one number. Gently, weirdly comic and enjoyable tactile to play around with. Will Oldham does the voice acting, which is just perfect, really.

02/03 - Killzone 3 (PS3) - The whole 'genocide LOL' thing is a bit weird and the Space Zyklon gun that makes people explode is never explained at all, but I enjoyed the story of this in a dumb, almost Warhammer 40k kinda way. Actual gunplay is still brutal, heavy and lacking in any kind of depth or finesse, but the game throws enough variety in the way to keep things interesting for a few hours. It does feel like Guerilla are coasting, though.

28/02 - Dead Island (360) - Couldn't bring myself to finish the last few quests, but I'm counting it anyway. Occasionally dreadful atmosphere (in a good way), a laudable variety of environments and meaty melee combat can't disguise the fact that the actual gameplay doesn't change at all throughout the game. There's no development and it lacks a compelling enough feedback loop or plot to pull me through. It's just hitting guys the same way until they fall over.

25/02 - The Wolf Among Us Season 1 (360) - Restarted the whole thing after pausing mid-season about a year ago. Really enjoyed it for what is was; a fun noir with a cute premise. Didn't reach the emotionally engaging heights of The Walking Dead but it did keep me pretty gripped throughout. Optimistic for the next season.

25/02 - SSX (360) - Not finished at all, as I couldn't be bothered to put more than a few hours in. Hated it. Try hard extreme-bro presentation, naff cutscenes and utterly charmless characters. Loathsome, wooly controls and difficult to read slopes that seem throw you off the side to your doom with little warning. Nothing of the joyful arcadey flow of the old games. Urgh.

23/02 - TxK (Vita) - Played sporadically over the last few months. It's lovely to behold and clearly well crafted, but just didn't hook me like I thought it would. Something missing, I guess.

23/02 - Tearaway (Vita) - Marvellous. Just relentlessly throws ideas in front of you, lets you mess around a bit and then moves onto the next lot. It's a perfect demonstration of what creative teams could be doing with the console given the chance. Presentation is sometimes a bit twee ukulele bollocks but never too irritating.

22/02 - Super Stardust Delta (Vita) - Ports the experience well to the handheld, though I had to avoid the touch and motion controls where possible (at least they included the option). Much the same as the PS3 version, really, but that's no bad thing.

20/02 - Luftrausers (Vita) - Thrilling, smart and sharp little blasts of aerial action, using a construction sets of pixel ship parts and a lovely sense of 2D flight. Totally thrilling when you scrape through an intense battle, taking out blimps and battleships in a arc of carnage.

18/02 - Surge Deluxe (Vita) - Tries to use the Vita well and is nicely presented, but this block puzzler completely fails to raise the intensity or the pulse. It's boring more than anything, sadly.

16/02 - Woah Dave (Vita) - Dull, below par Super Crate Box kinda thing that held my attention for less than an hour. Finished as I've seen everything it can do.

16/02 - Wipeout 2048 (Vita) - Mind-bogglingly beautiful, refined future racing with a sensible structure for the handheld. I played this for about ten hours straight on a sleeper train/plane combo across China. If it's the last Wipeout it'll be a fitting farewell.

14/02 - DmC: Vergil's Downfall - Kinda rote DLC, really. Cheap looking animated cut scenes and a naff script don't help, and there's little new added at all. Disappointing.

13/02 - Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet - Fun little twin-stick, kinda light Metroidvania thing that I found surprisingly atmospheric. Really nice sound design throughout. Communicates everything wordlessly yet clearly and when it runs out of ideas it ends neatly.

12/02 - Dragon's Dogma (PS3) - Bombed fifty hours into this in ten days, which is unheard of for me these days. Adored it. There are minor annoyances, but the adventuring and combat is so damn thrilling throughout. Some will find it bland but I found the art style and world to be of a kinda fundamental fantasy that I find appealing in its simplicity.

02/02 - Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episodes 1 & 2 (PS3) - The first episode was too predictable and similar to the main games to be of much note, but I enjoyed the second's foray into stealth, something which Infinite-proper had flirted with briefly and abandoned. Story-wise it seemed too desperate to tie up the loose ends in a Lucas-prequel kinda way, but nothing that caused any major damage in my opinion.

22/01 - DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3) - A divisive game, but one that I felt elegantly adapted the combat and controls of previous games, layered on some genuinely arresting visuals and a plot that was silly in a way that remained interesting. Probably too easy on the default setting but I really, really enjoyed this.

20/01 - Saints Row IV (360) - Hated the opening few hours of this, due mostly to the weak training exercises disguised as missions that have you backtracking repeatedly. It's clearly padded-out DLC throughout, but there's enough of the Prototype-ish chaos to entertain in the most part, and the main quest missions are consistently fun.

15/01 - Crysis 3 (PS3) - Played the second, more linear, game a while back. This one attempts to be a bit more open and succeeds in places, but really funnels you through others. Plot and some of the later environments are hackneyed nonsense, but the bow is fun.

13/01 - Crysis (360) - Lovely open environments in which to piss about, with a thin enough story to keep things ticking along without being a nuisance and a solid set of skills and weapons. Good stuff. Enemies are hawk-eyed little shits, though, able to spot you from a mile off.

2014

October 24th: Borderlands 2 (360) - Really loved this, even playing it solo throughout. I found the original a little undercooked, a little repetitive, but this one just kept throwing fun in front of the player constantly. Some of the quests are blatant padding, the vehicle handling is pretty horrible and once again I could do without the nerdy 'reference' humour, but generally found this really compelling.

October 10th: Heavy Rain (PS3) - I actually really enjoyed the first half of Beyond: Two Souls until it flew off the rails. This one goes the opposite way and does its best to recover from an abysmal, embarrassing opening. I can see what this was trying to do and I'm actually quite keen to see how these narrative experience evolve, but I found most of this poorly written, directed and generally quite boring.

October 3rd: Joe Danger (Vita) - Has a nice, tactile, compulsive feel to it. Shame it only really presents a challenge when going for the pro medals. Individual standard medal challenges just feel like going through the motions, and the scoring system feels too easy to exploit.

September 30th: Frobisher Says (Vita) - Been dabbling with this and the DLC since getting a Vita and it's fun enough for what it is. Basic Warioware-style micro-games that use the Vita's various functions.

September 28th: Resident Evil 6 (PS3) - An absolute mess of a game, but I still managed to get through every campaign. Not sure why, really, other than that I used to adore Resident Evil games. So many poorly implemented and pointless excursions into QTE setpiece nonsense. Capcom need to take a long hard look at what made this series enjoyable, because they've lost their way. Reminds me of Lost Planet 2's bloat and general inability to execute its ideas in anything other than a frustrating, awkward fashion.

September 24th: Puppeteer (PS3) Reminded me a lot of Dynamite Headdy. A solid, enjoyable and lovingly presented game. It's well behind recent Rayman games and Nintendo's stuff in terms of pure platforming, but all the mechanics tie together pretty well. Shame the head-swapping gimmick is really superficial.

September 24th: Proteus (PS3) - Was wandering around, finding this nice enough but a bit underwhelming and then it suddenly started to give me the damn shivers. Weirdly atmospheric in a way that's hard to describe, so I won't.

September 21st: Grand Theft Auto V (PS3) - Nothing to say that hasn't been said a million times. It's the sheer detail and craftmanship of it that impresses, really. It's still struggling with the controls and I wish you could grab people/objects and have more physical interactions with the world, but it never felt truly lacking. Worth the money just for the radio stations, if you ask me. Online refuses to work here in China, unlike most PSN stuff, which is a shame.

August 1st: God of War III (PS3) - Aside from a few spectacular, stand-out boss fights, this may as well have been PS2 game. The combat is functional but dated, the graphics are nice but feel very much like looking at an elaborate diorama, and there's a frustrating amount of padding. Maybe I'll prefer Ascension.

July 27th: Killzone 2 (PS3) - Paint-by-numbers FPS. Looks impressive for a game that's about six years old now, but does absolutely nothing interesting. Shooting is solid enough, AI is fine, but it's bafflingly mediocre for a big budget first party title. Why is the level design so pedestrian? Why is the player character so short? Why would anyone care about this game?

July 22nd: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3) - Found the first few hours of this really weak. Treacle-paced and fragmented, with loads of weak puzzles and tepid action sequences. If this series is going to be a linear spectacle it may as well do it with some gusto, which thankfully it starts to do in the latter half. The things I disliked in the first two games are all there, though. Armoured-up bullet sponges, poorly designed arenas, wooly aiming, auto climbing. The fact that Naughty Dog persist with the whole running-into-the-camera nonsense is fucking ridiculous, too. It's all nicely presented, though, I'll give it that.

July 15th: Alan Wake's American Nightmare (360) - It's not bad, but the story mode felt a bit lifeless and lacking in challenge. The excuse for tracking through the same environments three times felt flimsy and clichéd, and it failed to evoke the creepiness of Wake's main game. Arcade action mode seems fine but having to unlock weapons through the campaign collectathon turned me off.

July 11th: Motorstorm RC (Vita) - Furiously addictive little game. Wish it didn't dangle DLC stuff in your face all the time but it's no biggie. Rinsed through the main game and will eventually get around to doing everything, but I'm done for now.

July 3rd: LocoRoco (PSP) - A few hours of squishy-squashy joy. I have no problem with games that are tactile audio-visual delights more than they are mechanically deep. The flaws are there in the controls, which I found myself fighting during the more fiddly platforming sections, and the idea of replaying every level over and over to collect everything fills me with dread, but as a one-shot playthrough it was a lovely.

June 30th: Muramasa Rebirth (Vita) - Beautiful-looking and frequently thrilling game with solid combat mechanics. The story is weak but the translators have done their best with what was given to them, with some genuinely surprising and funny lines.

June 26th: Sound Shapes (Vita) - Found it a bit of a disappointment, really, but that might be my own fault. I thought the music would respond to the way I played, but really it's just triggering stuff in a linear way. That's fine but not terribly exciting. It does look and sound bloody lovely, though. The Jim Guthrie/Superbrothers levels are particularly wonderful. Level editor seems pretty decent and the community have made some nice stuff, I just don't have time for all that is all.

June 21st: Pixeljunk Shoter Ultimate (Vita) - A well-balanced, varied game that surprised me with how many little ideas it had. The fluid physics are impressive, while the visuals are simple but appealing and very readable. The only major issue was that sometimes an enemy would fly into me from the side of the screen with no warning, just as I was about to finish a level. Great game, though.

June 15th: Gravity Rush (Vita) - A beautiful little gem of a game. It doesn't do anything outrageously new, nor does it do everything perfectly, but it's one of the few open world-ish games in recent years that's captivated me enough to finish all the side quests. I dunno how long I spent just shifting around the city, freefalling and catching myself at the last minute. It's so relaxing. Made with love, this one.

June 14th: Hotline Miami (Vita) - Played this ages ago on my laptop, but it buggy as fuck. This was much better, and surprisngly well suited to the Vita's controls. It's just ridiculously satisying kicking down doors and fucking up everyone's day, and in such a perfectly gross, bleary, nauseating world.

May 24th: Prototype 2 (360) - The pinnacle of the smash-the-crap-out-of-everything open world games, at least as far as I've played. Takes the template of the first, fixes some of the frustrations like being attacked from off screen all the time and lets you run riot. Story is bobbins but it rattles along at a fair clip so it hardly matters. Surprisingly good looking, too.

May 20th: Asura's Wrath (360) - QTEs annoy the shit out of me when they're thrown into the likes of Halo 4 for no particular reason, but often find myself letting it go if the game is built around them. I had a lot of time for From Software's Ninja Blade and this isn't too dissimilar, really. Basic action game scrapping, big QTEs and dumb set pieces. It's a flawed curio for sure, but there's something hilarious about millions being spent on this barely interactive vanity project in which a a man has a hissy fit every three minutes and punches everything to bits.

May 19th: Rock of Ages (360) - A decent game, but one that needed a bit more work to really make the most of the concept. I always felt too rushed to strategise in any meaningful way between rounds, so I'd end up randomly chucking towers around so I could get the next boulder rolling. Still, it's unique in its presentation and I had a few hours of fun with it. Not too shabby at all.

May 10th: Kentucky Route Zero: Act III (PC) - It's just so eerily evocative of... something. One of the few games with a genuine sense of mystery to it. All you really do is colour the story as you go through, but it's so confident in taking its time, letting you bathe in its oddness, that it doesn't matter. There's one scene in this act that is among the best I've ever experienced. Lovely.

May 8th: Syndicate (PS3) - Nowt much to do with the old games, but that doesn't bother me much. Seems like they just tacked the name on to a typical Starbreeze shooter about half way through development or something. It has that really physical brutality that they're so good at, and using the active reload mechanic from Gears as an attack is pretty neat, but it's otherwise really forgettable. Oh, and the bloom is bloody ridiculous.

May 6th: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) - So much better than the first game it's unreal. Everything polished until it gleams, few bullshit instadeaths out of nowhere and some damn fine set-pieces. It's such a shame I find Drake one of the most repellent characters ever created, as the game seems to think he's charming or something.

May 4th: Rayman Legends (PS3) - Absolutely bloody pristine platforming. The only one in recent years that's come even close to Nintendo's best. Such a shame this seems to have sold fuck all, because it feels so well crafted.

April 29th: Saints Row: The Third (PS3) - Steamed through the story missions, couldn't be arsed with the filler. This is true of most open world games for me, these days, so it's no big deal. Though much of the zany American humour fell flat for me, I bloody loved the main missions and found the game full of so many satisfying little moments, like jumping straight off the side of the penthouse, parachuting at the last second and then bombing through the windscreen to pinch a car. Feels good, man.

April 24th: Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) - It's a bit of a mess, there are too many cut-scenes, too many turret sections, the bosses aren't as good as they should be and it all feels a little bit archaic BUT... I bloody love Metal Gear games.. I like tinkering with them, finding the little quirks they've included if you play around with the items and enemies. I'd take a lesser Kojima Metal Gear over your standard action fodder any day. It's really no Snake Eater, though.

April 21st: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3) - Pretty much hated the first half of this. Stiff, dull combat with the occasional bit of automatic jumping, interrupted only by something popping up and killing me out of nowhere or Drake completely failing to do what I asked. The plots not even very good, really, and I was lead to believe was quite well done. Picks up the pace a bit in the latter half but even then it felt a bit shonky. Everyone says the sequels are better though. We'll see.

March 27th: Noby Noby Boy (PS3) - Daft little toy thing, but I found myself messing around with it for way longer than expected. Rough around the edges but really charming and amusing at times. Controls are mental, though.

March 27th: Guacamelee (PS3) - Really nicely drawn and concise Metroidvania with nifty combat. Didn't really notice the difficulty spikes I'd read about, just had to watch the attack patterns of some of the later bosses. Could've done without the naff memes and games references scattered about, but you can't have everything I suppose. I had a really enjoyable couple of evenings with this.

March 25th: Flower (PS3) - Looks like a fabric softener advert and the music is occasionally a bit 'early-90s motivational video', so why is this so bloody lovely? I dunno, but it is. Relaxing in a way that games so rarely attempt, let alone achieve. Kinda wish it wouldn't grab the camera to show something happening when you're mid-'flow', but it's no biggie.

March 24th: Flow (PS3) - A pretty mesmerising experience while it lasted, and I'm glad they were smart enough not to drag it out longer than the concept deserved. Enjoyed one of the later creature that had me dashing around, gorging on other creatures in a ravenous blood-lust.

March 24th: Rain (PS3) - A simple, slight but very charming little game in which you find yourself visible only under rainfall whilst evading a seemingly immortal monster. There's nothing mechanically original about it, and the presentation is a little cloying at times, but it all hangs together very well. Reminded me of Clock Tower for some reason.

March 21st: Killer is Dead (PS3) - By the numbers Grasshopper, really, which is bit of a disappointment as I usually love their games. The combat is simple yet satisfying, but it lacks the madcap daftness of Lollipop Chainsaw and Shadows of the Damned for which I forgave those games their flaws. Here, it's disjointed action vignettes punctuated by self-consciously zany cut-scenes, when really I yearned for Killer7's pervasive weirdness. Gigolo missions seem more like clumsily executed Bond parody than works of outright misogyny they've been reported as, but are still boring and unnecessary. Bosses were mad fun, though.

March 17th: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut (PS3) - An enjoyable game. Nice to play something that lets you play at your own pace, even if it does feel like you're faffing about when the narrative is telling you to hurry the fuck up. Mass Effect has the same problem, though. Good things: Enjoyable stealth, interesting upgrades, decent dialogue, looks pretty nice. Bad things: Bosses are shit, ropey cut-scenes, repetitive hacking and locations, meandering plot. A solid foundation for a follow up, I reckon.

March 10th: Tomb Raider (PS3) - Does so many things well yet disappoints equally. There's a better, more open and more ambitious game in there, somewhere. The entire hunting/camping/crafting side of things has little to no underlying systems yet feel like they should, while the traversal is slick but streamlined to the point of being inconsequential. Combat is satisfying due to the auto-cover and the wonderful bow and shotgun, but the arc of 'traumatised by first self-defence kill' to 'wiped out about a thousand guys because survival' feels really weird and gross. Could've done with cutting out about half of the enemies and going for more abandoned spaces. Still, the animation is lovely, I found the plot engagingly silly for most of it and the soundtrack is some primitive Einsturzende Neubauten industrial thing in places. Highs and lows.

March 5th: LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3) - An under-appreciated game, I feel. It loses some of ModNation's more unique approach to kart racing but gains the vastly more appealing world and powerful creation tools of LBP. A fair trade, I reckon. Inherits some of LBP's woolliness in the controller response, which is a shame, but the story mode was pretty enjoyable throughout. Some really neat community levels to mess around in, too.

March 3rd: Journey (PS3) - ...aaaand from the ridiculous to the utterly sublime. A stunning work, it really is. Visually it's along the lines of Gwen, ou le Livre de Sable or some of Moebius' desert vistas, which would probably be enough for me. The fact that it's also a brilliant, brilliant game is the most wonderful bonus. The feeling of companionship you have with other players is genuine but also really difficult to explain, as is the rather odd sensation of loss when you lose someone. I won't go into more detail for fear of spoiling it, but it's one of the only games that I would consider perfect.

March 3rd: Beyond: Two Souls (PS3) - I don't really mind these narrative experiences and I thought the initial third of the game was pretty great, to be honest. Genuinely enjoyed some of the sequences in which you're on the run. Then it flies off the rails and never recovers, mostly through bad writing, but the gameplay, as flimsy as it is to begin with, never really evolves at all. Oh, and they do that thing where they put a bunch of racial caricatures in a game and then invent a country in an attempt to make it all okay. Fuck off.

Feb 28th: XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PS3) - Favourite thing I've played all year, this. Played Normal Ironman a found it just wonderfully absorbing and utterly gutting when you'd lose a long-serving squad member. A few technical problems with the camera but nothing too distracting. Heading back in soon for another run...

Feb 21st: FTL (PC) - Put about ten hours in and probably done with this. Utterly and completely absorbing while its charms lasted, but the randomness of it just wore me out after a while. Nothing wrong with it, as the brutality is the nature of the thing, but I just don't have the will continue.

Feb 21st: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 (360) - A bit flat and lifeless, this episode. Minimal interaction even by Telltale standards and few decisions seems to be of real consequence. Hopefully it picks up again. Still bloody love the score.

Feb 15th: Bioshock Infinite (PS3) - I loved it. It would've been nice to have a few more open arenas and a little more response from the enemies when you hit them, but I don't get the harsh criticisms of the combat. Swinging around on the skyrails was endless fun, bounding off and chucking some vigors all over the shop I found some of the old ultra-violence a bit off, but it's a small matter. More than anything I admire its ambition, and Levine done good in my book.

Feb 11th: Metro: Last Light (PS3) - I absolutely loved this, if for nothing other than the atmosphere and sense of place. I do have a weakness for grim Russian apocalypses and atomic mysticism, though. There are faults, like the overpowered stealth, linearity and abundance of supplies, but it all came together well. Would appreciate more freedom to wander the surface in a follow-up. Here's hoping.

Feb 8th: Remember Me (PS3) - A game of linear traversal and simple, satisfying combat. Punctuated nicely by the memory remixes, which were interesting even though they failed to live up to their potential. Other than that, I enjoyed the story, found it looked spectacular throughout and thought it had some neat ideas (like the customisable combo strings).

Jan 29th: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360) - The story was jingoistic rambling nonsense, and half the game felt like a tutorial for multiplayer or something, but it perked up once it let you have some freedom. Nice to see a game that accommodates different strategies, if only in certain sections.

Jan 27th: Shoot Many Robots (360) - Abandoning this but I kinda consider it finished as I've almost certainly seen everything it has to offer. Generic 2D run-and-gunner with an admirable number of levels and upgrades but a woeful lack of variety throughout. Boring.

Jan 27th: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (360) - A somewhat confused but heartfelt 80s pastiche. I reckon I'd have preferred it if they'd played it straight, to be honest. Could've done without the lazy internet meme humour, too. Enjoyed the boosted pace and lack of fall damage but wish they hadn't walled-off the bases as it seemed to limit the ways in which you could approach them. Feels like an idea that could be better fleshed out with a sequel, though.

Jan 27th: You Will Die Alone At Sea (PC) - Spend a minute floating in a red wireframe ocean, doing nowt. I have a fair tolerance for pointless indie curios but this does nothing and says nothing. At least has the decency to so succinctly.

Jan 25th: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 (360) - An intriguing story, remarkably well executed visually, with a neatly understated synth-pulse of a score. I was bound to like this. I see the recent Telltale games more like choose-your-own-adventure books than the point-and-clicks of the past, and enjoy them on those terms. Besides, I always hated the obtuse puzzles of most adventure games so I'm glad those are out.

Jan 24th: Spec Ops: The Line (360) - By-the-numbers gameplay that disguises (or allows for) a surprisingly subversive take on the strange appeal that video game conflict has to so many. Or at least, that's how I read it. The execution is a little uneven but it's encouraging to see a big budget title try to tackle these things.

Jan 18th: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD (360) - Not a bad take on the 2D Castlevania formula. Having three playable characters might have been more interesting if they'd had significantly different weapons and move sets, and I wish they'd gone with the art style in the cut-scenes, but the combat was pretty decent. Story is too boring to mention in any detail.

Jan 14th: Deadlight (360) - This has possibly the worst writing and voice acting I've encountered in a long, long while, along with too much trial-and-error bullshit and inexplicably unresponsive controls. The last one isn't too much of an issue when the game lets you move around at your own pace, but once it starts expecting you to perform flawlessly at speed the game falls apart. A shame because there's a decent contemporary Flashback-style platformer in there, somewhere.

Jan 14th: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (360) - Curious little game with some neat, simplistic ideas coming and going before outstaying their welcome. Wasn't convinced the storytelling was much more than a generic mishmash of over-familiar fairy tales, but it was enjoyable enough.

Jan 13th: Halo 4 (360) - Really, really enjoyed this, but I always enjoy Halo. Nothing drastically different and sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. I had certain problems with the Prometheans, as I always seemed to end up fighting them in much the same way, but nothing that can't be ironed out in the next one.

Jan 6th: Outland (360) - Love the animation and fluidity of movement in general. Probably could've done with a heavier emphasis on the Metroidvania side of things and I almost lost patience with the final boss, but a solid, enjoyable game.

Jan 4th: A Dark Room (Browser) - Finished in the sense that I got bored of waiting for something interesting to happen. Not even sure if there is an ending. I'm not averse to text-based games but there are better uses of my time than watching numbers go up, waiting for a smidgen of revealing information somewhere down the line.

Jan 3rd: Night Rider Turbo (Browser) - Basically EnviroBear 2000: Operation Hibernation with an 80s vibe. Pretty funny for a few minutes.

Jan 2nd: Peggle Nights (360) - It's more Peggle. Nowt more to add, really.

Jan 2nd: I Am Alive (360) - It tried hard, but ended up being a pretty hollow experience. Archaic in most areas and the combat never really lived up to its potential. I liked that climbing actually a required a bit of thought and effort, though.

Jan 1st: Dishonored (360) - Beautiful, fascinating and a bit flawed. Felt it gave you a vast arsenal of stuff for a chaotic play-through but was lacking interesting stealth options. Probably still one of my most enjoyed games of recent years.

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Earlier

South Park : The stick of truth

Defense Grid : The awakening (again), plus campaign modes of all the DLC.

Realms of the haunting

Red Faction Armageddon

Kirby's Epic Yarn

Fire Emblem : New mystery of the emblem - Heroes of Light and shadow

Final Fantasy VII

Pullblox

The Legend Of Zelda: Train Cunt

zelda Majora's mask 3d

among the sleep

brothers: a tale of two sons

valkyria chronicles

eternal darkness

super mario galaxy 2

Some of this was delightful. Some of it was much more challenging than galaxy 1, and that's when the controls sometimes started to feel a little inadequate.

I've played too many marios lately, because nintendo have made too many. And what really annoys me about them is that to finish them now, you have to do everything over and over again. This time, I got 120 stars, I got all the comet medals. Now 120 green stars appear. Fuck off.

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28/07/15 - Super Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)

Funnily enough, I completed this this afternoon as well - 120 stars. Although it's brilliant (obviously), I've posted recently in the What Are You Playing? thread about how, for future 3D Marios, I hope Nintendo go back to the same sort of formula they used for Mario 64 and Sunshine, namely, bigger, less linear worlds compared with the bitty levels seen in the Galaxy games and 3D World. I'm not sure if I agree with chris on the moon's comments about the controls letting him down - for me it was more the camera that couldn't cope with some of the tougher levels - but I do agree that the 120 green stars you unlock upon completion haven't especially enticed me to keep on playing.

Previously in 2015:

01/01/15 - Pokemon Y (3DS)
04/01/15 - Super Mario 3D World (Wii U)
11/01/15 - Tearaway (VITA)
13/01/15 - The Swapper (VITA)
20/01/15 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (VITA)
22/01/15 - Shovel Knight (Wii U)
24/01/15 - Machinarium (VITA)
31/01/15 - Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)
08/02/15 - 80 Days (Android)
15/02/15 - Bayonetta 2 (Wii U)
19/03/15 - The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask (3DS)
11/14/15 - Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze (Wii U)
03/07/15 - Monster Hunter 4 Ultimate (3DS)

19/07/15 - Gone Home (PC)

19/07/15 - The Stanley Parable (PC)

20/07/15 - Yoshi's Woolly World (Wii U)

21/07/15 - Hohokum (VITA)

23/07/15 - World of Goo (PC)

26/07/15 - Another World (PC)

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Didn't you ever pull the stick in one direction, and then watch as mario ran around in a complete circle before heading in the direction you wanted him to? Or have Ls and waggles not register quite in time?

I don't think so. Maybe an issue with your controller?

My biggest issue was with the camera and depth perception: not being able to line up jumps properly because it was hard to tell where Mario was on the Z axis. I had the same issue with 3d World.

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20/1 Far Cry 4

10/2 The LEGO Movie Game

09/03 Infamous: Second Son

12/06 10000000

20/06 You Must Build a Boat

25/7 - Shadow of Mordor - well worth the 38 hours of slicing, dicing and stealthing. Took a couple of hours to settle in to it but thereafter was good side missions, effective atmosphere and really meaty combat all the way. Well, meaty when I didn't run away and hide in a bush like a frightened mouse.

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30/07/2015 - Afterfall InSanity: Extended Edition (PC)

Urgh, this was painful long before the end.

It started interestingly enough - a nice bit of character and world building - but started to fall apart pretty quickly. The combat was at best rudimentary but often awful, you were robbed of your weapons far too often (in ways that didn't make sense), the character stuff fell away after about the 3rd chapter (out of 27!) and the environments got very samey, very quickly. As noted, there were 27 chapters and, whilst a fair number of them were under 10 minutes each, there just wasn't anywhere near enough game to sustain things. Not helped by the fact that the story is a mess.

The most interesting thing about it, really, is that due to a dispute with Epic Games the publisher went bankrupt and so it has been pulled from Steam. Also pulled was the first episode (of 5 planned) of the follow-up title, set in the same universe (but not linked story-wise), which was getting much more positive comments.

So yeah, a game that long outstayed its welcome unfortunately.

Previously completed


18/07/15 - Shadowrun Returns (PC)
14/07/15 - Bound By Flame (PC)
14/07/15 - Gears of War: Judgement (X360)
27/06/15 - The Witcher (PC)
20/03/15 - Dead Effect (PC)
01/03/15 - Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea, Episode 2 (PC)
22/02/15 - Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (PC)
07/02/15 - Arcania: Gothic 4 (X360)
03/02/15 - Demonicon (PC)
31/01/15 - Bioshock Infinite - Burial At Sea, Part 1 (PC)
27/01/15 - The Walking Dead - 400 Days (PC)
26/01/15 - Mars: War Logs (X360)
22/01/15 - Enigmatis: The Ghosts of Maple Creek (PC)
04/01/15 - Bioshock Infinite (PC)

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August

02/08 Entwined (PS4) I should have loved this, it looks and sounds very new age, like a playable 80's music video clip. But in the end it's just a tunnel racer with two objects to control at once. Not sure whether or not I'll take on the challenges/

01/08 J.U.L.I.A:Among the Stars (PC) This felt like an old school PC 90's CD-Rom adventure game. But one of the good ones. You're a scientist trapped on board a ship/space station with a passive agressive AI and a probe you can send down to planets. I really enjoyed it even though it felt linear and old fashioned. In terms of puzzles, I liked what was there but it felt sparse compared to the likes of Professor Layton. Still, an enjoyable nine hours.

Previously

July

19/07 Ting Bang Story (PC)
12/07 Sunset (PC)
06/07 3D Outrun (3DS)
05/07 The Walking Dead:Season Two (PC)
02/07 Mafia 2 (360)

June

28/06 Raiden III (PC)
28/06 Ikaruga (PC)
27/06 The Walking Dead:Season One (inc 400 Days) (PC)
21/06 Bioshock 2:Minerva's Den (PC)
19/06 Dragon Age:Inquisition (including The Jaws of Hakkon DLC) (PS4)
11/06 The Starship Damrey (3DS)
07/06 Attack of the Friday Monsters! (3DS)
01/06 Evil Quest (PC)

May

25/05 Dungeons and Dragons:Shadows of Mystara (PC)
26/05 Spec Ops:the Line (PC)
24/05 The Unfinished Swan (PS4)
20/05 Broken Age (PC)
18/05 Dungeons and Dragons:Tower of Doom (PC)

Apr

26/04 Roundabout (PC)
23/04 Freshman Year (PC)
22/04 Phoenix Wright:Ace Attorney:Dual Destinies (3DS)
22/04 The Wolf Among Us (PC)
03/04 Assassin's Creed:Freedom Cry (PS4)

Mar

16/03 Assassin's Creed 4:Black Flag (PS4)
01/03 R-Type Leo

Feb

15/02 Vigilante (Arcade)
09/02 Afterburner Climax (360)
02/02 StreetPass Quest (3DS)
01/02 Infamous:First Light (PS4)

Jan

26/01 Red Faction:Guerrilla (360)
20/01 Steamworld Dig (PS4)
18/01 Double Dragon (PC)
04/01 The Last of Us:Left Behind (PS4)
01/01 The Last of Us:Remastered (PS4)

Edited by Unofficial Who
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Metal Slug 3

Strangers Wrath
Valkyria Chronicles
Final Fantasy XIII
State of Decay
Final Fantasy XIII-2
The Banner Saga (twice!)
The Last Remnant
Hotline Miami 2
Dreamfall Chapters Ep 1,2,3 (twice)
Zone of the Enders
Ace Combat X: Skies of Deception
Sniper Elite 3
Wolfenstein: The Old Blood (twice)
Wolfenstein: the New Order

Freedom Planet - This is great, does what Shovel Knight did, but for Master System era Treasure and Sonic games, unfortunately seemed to get nowhere near that games exposure and seems to have done poorly as a result. Rock solid gameplay, with just endless variety of new stage mechanics that are introduced for like three seconds before you blast past to the next part of the level which has completely new art and enemies and sub-bosses and bosses and set pieces - it's remarkably lavish for what was a Kickstarter game.

Shadowrun: Dragonfall - Initial impressions weren't too positive, but this really grew on me. It does a great job of mixing up its gameplay with unique combat scenarios and manages to come up with some pretty unique twists on what would otherwise be cliché. I thought the Alice Fund event was the point of no return for the finale, whereas really it was like two-thirds through the game for me, considering I hadn't done Blitz's mission and skipped the Aztechnology job because it seemed suspicious, which led to me playing very late. I still have a bunch of issues with the UI and particularly the way cover only counts as stuff dropped into the rooms rather than their exterior walls, but whatever.

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Been going through a few 360 co-op games with my son before it gets retired due to the imminent purchase of an Xbox One. Completed Army of Two The 40th Day today. Was ok, the usual fun to be had in co-op but not as enjoyable as the first one which we played about 5 years ago, but that might be down to rose tinted glasses.

August: Army of Two the 40th Day

Previous:

January:

Assassins Creed Unity (PS4)
Shadow of Mordor (PS4)
The Last Tinker (PS4)
The Wolf Among Us (PS4)
Life is Strange Episode 1 (PS4)

February:

Game of Thrones Episode 1 (PS4)
Game of Thrones Episode 2 (PS4)
The Order 1886 (PS4)

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (PS4)

March:

Mario Galaxy 2 (Wii)
Life is Strange Ep 2 (PS4)
Game of Thrones Ep 3 (PS4)

April:

Counterspy (PS4)

Child of Light (PS4)
May:
Borderlands 2 & dlc (PS4)
Wolfenstein The Old Blood (PS4)
June:
Splatoon (Wii U )
Life is Strange Ep 3 (PS4)
Game of Thrones Ep 4 (PS4)
Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel (PS4)
July:
Batman Arkham Knight (PS4)

Gears of War 3 (360)

Gears of War Judgment (360)

Game of Thrones Ep 5 (PS4)

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (PS4)

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Dragon's Crown was grrrrrreat. Infamous: Last Light not so much.

Edit: Stick It to The Man as well.

2015

06/08 - Stick It to The Man (PS4) - A brief game with a well executed aesthetic; I found myself enjoying this way more than expected. As an actual game it's a straight-forward adventure platform thing, and the little stealth interludes are pretty dry after the first one, but the characters are appealing in a 90s Nickleodeon kinda way and the sound design is great throughout. That was enough for me today.
05/08 - Infamous: Last Light (PS4) - Can't say I was looking forward to an extension to a game that ran out of ideas a third of the way in....and I was right not to get excited. Traversal mechanics are a bit more enjoyable and you don't have to keep draining energy every five seconds, but this does nothing new and the characters are still dull, whining children. At least it's short, as pretty as the main game and came with PS+.
03/08 - Dragon's Crown (Vita) - Super satisfying beat-em-up that doesn't quite hit the highs of Guardian Heroes but does loads of neat little things of its own. Music is epic, art is beautful (though the female characters generally are a bit...y'know) and has a moreish gameplay loop of fight>boss>loot>repeat that keeps things turning over quickly. The only real problem I had is that it's a bit hard to know if you're properly alligned with the enemies and I found myself missing regularly. The lane system in Guardian Heroes seems a bit archaic these days but it does solve that problem perfectly.
27/07 - Velocity 2X (Vita) - Couldn't really get into this properly, though I suspect that's just a mood thing. Everything about it is super refined and compelling and yet it never got its hooks into me. Plot seems a bit redundant but the music is super swish. Might give it another run later.
22/07 - Metrico (Vita) - Another game that falls over itself in its attempts to use all of the Vita's functions. Parts of this are neat enough, with a sharp look and devious little puzzles, but the infographic aesthetic leaves me cold and the need for simultaneous back-and-front touch gestures, motion control and button presses mean you end up twisting and contorting uncomfortably for fairly long stretches.
21/07 - Uncharted: Golden Abyss (Vita) - Or, Uncharted: Lowered Expectations Edition. Just because a AAA console game can technically be shoehorned into a handheld doesn't make it a worthwhile endeavour. In fairness, Drake is more bearable than usual and his relationship with Sully is still kinda charming, but this takes the flimsy combat and ropey climbing of the first game, takes out all the big set-pieces and crams touch and gyroscope crap between every five minutes of action. More than anything I'd describe this as boring, which is a stunning failure, really.
18/07 - Sine Mora (Vita) - Stupendously attractive for a handheld game and with some neat systems built around time limits and manipulation. Not the greatest schmup I've played but a surprisingly lavish one in this day and age. Weirdly pretentious story filler, though.
17/07 - Badland (Android) - The whole 'tap to flap/float/whatever' genre leaves me pretty cold to be honest. This has some nice ideas but like with Jetpack Joyride and others I got bored quickly. Presntation is weirdly dull and distant in a way I found unengaging, too.
17/07 - 80 Days (Android) - I did two runs through in a single sitting, which probably tells you how much I enjoyed it. Well written, unique choose-your-own-adventure game with some lovely sound design.
16/07 - Destiny (PS4) - I bought the base game and the two expansions together and it's a damn good game, Destiny, with probably the best feel of any shooter I've played. Everything about the experience is super slick, evocative and utterly intoxicating. The feel of controlling a sparrow or firing a hand cannon into a Fallen's face is so, so perfect it's hard to describe. There's not enough of it, though, and the manipulative stuff they've used to keep you playing is pretty sinister in its potency. I've never been one to get lured in by the promise of random loot drops, but this was starting to get its claws into me in a way that I find concerning, so we're done (for now...)
10/07 - Entwined (PS4) - Pretentious nonsense attempting to mimic thatgamecompany and falling flat in every way. Nasty new age rubbish with a single dull mechanic and unpleasant free-flight controls that it obviously considers a 'reward' at the end of each level.
19/06 - Never Alone (PS4) - A worthy enough idea, combining the indie game and the documentary, but neither side is particularly satisfactory in and of itself. A cumbersome platformer with occasionally stubborn movement and few interesting ideas doesn't particularly inspire me to learn about a culture. Looks really nice, though.
19/06 - Dead Nation (PS4) - Solid twin-stick shooter with a solid arsenal of weapons and enough variety to keep things fresh. Still looks very PS3 in its visuals but the lighting is nice enough. Not sure why they even bothered with the story, though.
17/06 - Shadow Warrior (PS4) - Ridiculous 90s mega-carnage sprint-everywhere fuck-em-up. A genuinely brilliant update of an old classic and shows how Duke Nukem should've been done. Garish in a charming way and occasionally quite pretty, with a daft, funny script and varied, powerful set of weapons. Didn't like it when I'd accidentally dash down some stairs and kill myself from fall damage, but that's my own fault. Ending goes on forever, too.
15/06 - Costume Quest 2 (PS4) - It's barely more involving than the first in terms of the battle system and quests, and there's too much back-tracking and fetch-questing for such a short game, but there's so much to love about Costume Quest. Funny little script, a cute premise about a dental hygeine dystopia in which candy is illegal make it a winner for me.
13/06 - Wolfenstein: The New Order (PS4) - Man, I loved this. Somehow manages to be both funny and poignant at the same time as brutal and dumb. Both stealth and boom-bang approaches are satisfying and the whole 'kill the commander' system is inspired. Sound mix is a bit off and recharging the energy weapons is tiresome, but there's just moment after moment of brilliance in this.
11/06 - The Swapper (Vita/PS4) - Enjoyed the look and feel of this but had to give it up after a point. Puzzles were wrecking my head and cheating didn't sound like much fun, so it's done with for now. Really nce atmosphere, though.
09/06 - Resogun (Vita/PS4) - Played this across both formats. Furiously addictive and visually astonishing. Holds up surprisingly well on the Vita, and only really loses the whizzy effects.
08/06 - Futuridium EP (Vita) - Shit, boring concept that should never have made it past the demo stage. Gave it half an hour.
08/06 - The Binding of Isaac Rebirth (Vita) - It was great on PC and it's still great. The new art style is nice but doesn't blow me away or anything, but the music is pretty sweet.
08/06 - Modnation Racers (Vita) - Horrendously ugly and the frame rate is so bad it's like looking at a zoetrope. Dull races that have no sense of urgency or thrill.
08/06 - Titan Attacks! (Vita) - Dull, ugly 'update' of Space Invaders that no one asked for or needed in a post-Space Invaders Extreme world. Pointless.
07/06 - Kick & Fennick (Vita) - Ugly game in terms of art style and visually monotonous, but I like the core concept of using recoil to bounce around. Good little game.
07/06 - Monster Bag (Vita) - One of those games that probably only exists because Sony need to fund quick little games to throw on PS+ every month, and one that has very few mechanical ideas, but it's nicely presented and makes the most of its core concept.
06/06 - Murasaki Baby (Vita) - Some of the touch controls don't work too well and the spooky-wooky Tim Burton style does nothing for me, but I enjoyed some of the novelty of this. Doesn't run its ideas into the ground and left me satisfied enough.
06/06 - Race the Sun (Vita) - Boring as hell endless....flyer? I dunno how people play this shit. Has that flat shaded polygonal style that's back in vogue for indie games but does nothing interesting with it.
06/06 - Killzone Mercenary (Vita) - Shouldn't really work on a handheld, and the sticks struggle a bit with aiming and turning in general, but this is somehow the most enjoyable Killzone of the lot. Neat little bursts of shooty brutality. Gets a bit flickery with the frame-rate but it's an impressive technical feat.
04/06 - Battlefield 4 (PS4) - Indistinguishable from every other military FPS campaign I've played in the last however-many years. Sound and visuals are super impressive but that's about it, really. The whole plot is baffling and vaguely offensive at times, and I have to wish they wouldn't keep wasting resources on this stuff. I'll keep playing the multiplayer until the next one is out, mind.
03/06 - Alien Isolation: Crew Expendable/Last Survivor DLC (PS4) - Slight and adds nothing new to the actual gameplay, but there's a thrill and novelty in the attempt to render the latter half of the movie in game form. Worth the few quid I paid for it.
03/06 - Counterspy (PS4) - Neat Saul Bass-ish visuals and twangy soundtrack for a game with an interesting Xcom-lite structure and fun action platforming. Enjoyed pretty much everything about this, so will have a few runs more on the Vita version whilst I'm on holiday next week.
03/06 - Aaru's Awakening (PS4) - Has a beautiful hand-animated style that really deserves to be seen and....little else. Awkward controls, poor level design and annoying bosses. There are some neat ideas with the teleporting but it's badly implemented. made it as far as the last boss (I think) and gave up. Life's too short.
03/06 - Tower of Guns (PS4) - Yeah, I didn't finish this either, but I did play long enough to work out what it is. FPS rougue-like level-up blah blah blah. It's pretty boring, really, though there's something about its rough N64 look that I quite like, for some reason.
03/06 - Secret Ponchos (PS4) - Was interested in this but couldn't find anyone to actually play against. It's dead, I guess.
02/06 - Injustice: Gods Among Us (PS4) - I never would've bought this, being a non-SNK/Capcom 2D fighter themed around a universe I care nothing about, but it was surprisingly fun. I only played through the story mode, though, having no desire to master it enough to play online. It's charmingly daft and the cutscenes are awful but I've wasted my time on worse.
02/06 -Valiant Hearts - The Great War (PS4) - Tonally this veers all over the place, unable to decide if it's some slapstick steampunk lark or a grim, sober retelling of historical facts. The art style is nice but I found it jarred badly with the photos of really facial disfiguration and bodies in the menus, and the bloodless presentation and timid storytelling often came across as dishonest. There's a serviceable but dull adventure puzzle game underneath it all, but that's faint praise.
29/05 - Transistor (PS4) - Loved pretty much everything about this, from its art nouveau/deco/cyberpunk hybrid art style and loungey electronic score, through to the well-realised, unique battle system. Found it utterly captivating to the point that I played it in two sittings, and I wasn't massively taken by Bastion. Highly recommended.
27/05 - Strider (PS4) - One of those games that just has the sheer joy of interaction and motion to it. Cartwheeling over some dudes and unleashing a barrage of swooshy sword attacks never gets old. The metroidvania stuff is very light and they don't even bother with a plot as such (probably for the best), but for half an hour every few nights this was golden. Music was a bit underwhelming, though.
26/05 - Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare (PS4) - Wonderfully well crafted. I bombed hours into this without blinking, it was so bloody compelling. This is that rarity in online gaming in that I rarely felt cheated or frustrated by other players, so it's shame that people only play a handful of modes, then, as they all seem fun in their own way.
26/05 - Pix the Cat (PS4) - Colourfully presented in an effort to convince you it's fun. It isn't, though, unless you like memorising routes and repeating them from scratch each time you make a slight error in order to have the chance of a decent high score, which is the focus of the entire game. Played for about two hours and it barely deserved that.
18/05 - Infamous: Second Son (PS4) - It's basically Prototype or Saints Row IV but not as fun and more repetitive. All the powers are much the same and I barely bothered with the side missions because Sucker Punch had barely bothered to put any effort into them. It is stupidly pretty, though, and I enjoyed faffing about with the photo mode, so at least it taxed the PS4 a bit.
18/05 - The Unfinished Swan (PS4) - A highly attractive game, but one that wasn't what I expected. I thought it'd be an austere, visually-coherent artsy affair, but it was another one of those twee, storybook-indie games with awful narration like Trine or Brothers or whatever. I don't understand who it's aimed at. Most kids will find the wandering around slow and boring, and adults will likely find the whole thing pretty simplistic. Eh.
10/05 - Alien Isolation (PS4) - It's so damn good. A perfect retro futuristic recreation of the original film, intense stealth mechanics and an epic journey. Rudi pretty much nailed it with his big post in the GOTY thread, so...errr, what he said.
09/05 - Hohokum (PS4) - My first PS4 game finished, if for no reason other than it was quick to download and pretty short. Enjoyed it, even though it has a complete lack of variety in its interactions. It has a tactile, sensory quality that makes it more like playing a picture book than anything. Lovely soundtrack, too.
01/05 - R4: Ridge Racer Type 4 (PS1/VitaTV) - This is about a million times better than most contemporary arcade racers if only for the soundtrack. The fact that you don't so much race as glide elegantly through the courses only makes it all the more special.
30/04 - Splinter Cell (PS3) - In terms of the actual stealthing it was probably the best of the generation, but that isn't saying too much, as it still relies way too much on flawless, easy to execute takedowns and other magic powers, It's the Ubisoft nonsense that hurts the game most, though. UI-mania, a million side missions and unlocks, obnoxious characters talking in a baffling military jargon that so many games seem to fetishise in their scripts these days. It's a tasteless contemporary action game gruel.
27/04 - God of War: Ascension (PS3) - Pretty much by-the-numbers God of War, but with some subtle changes that make QTEs and powers more enjoyable in use. There's some horribly embarrassing stuff around the portrayal of women and the tone continues to be very one note, but I found this a more satisfying playthrough than the last game.
24/04 - Gears of War: Judgement (360) - Makes some sensible changes to the controls and adds some nifty modifiers for those of us that have been playing Gears for years, but fails to wow in any real sense. Looks stunning at times but far too many levels take place in small indoor locations, the four players cramped together. The focus on Horde-esque waves in the campaign and move away from turret sequences of sheer spectacle and frustration is much appreciated, though. AI seemed much better than in 3, too.
21/04 - Need for Speed: Most Wanted (PS3) - It's so bloody good. Handling is pitched just right, the difficulty curve masterfully implemented and the races are not only fair and legible but also stupidly, chaotically thrilling (something that most arcade racers of the last few years have struggled to balance). The soundtrack is awful shite but there's a custom soundtrack option and the game isn't full of the kind of obnoxious lifestyle bro-dude shit that Forza Horizon suffers from, so it wins the open world arcade racer title for the last gen.
18/04 - Dead Space 3 (PS3) - A lavishly attractive but disappointing end to a series that started incredibly, diluted by the sad compromises that came with each iteration. Dead Space didn't need human enemies, co-op or weird on-rails Space Harrier flying sections, but to the detriment of what made the game special, it got them. There's still some of that tense, cosmic-industrial body horror in places (the ruined flotilla) but there are also near-endless waves of enemies that rush at you, flailing about, putting a stop to the dismemberment combat that set the series apart. Oh, and a potentially great crafting system made too finnicky and costly in a push to sell DLC, so that I made about four guns during my entire playthrough. The ending is laughable garbage, too, but it does look and sound absolutely marvellous in the main, so that's something.
14/04 - Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PS3) - It's kinda hard to defend the decision to sell a vertical slice of an upcoming game for twenty quid, no matter how replayable it might be. This should've been the intro to The Phantom Pain. It is bloody great, though, and refines many of the things Metal Gear has attempted over the years, to the point that I'm worryingly excited about the main game. Eeeek.
09/04 - Motorstorm Apocalypse (PS3)- Fun things: Destruction-filled speedy arcade racers with lots of vehicles on the track of different shapes and sizes and wooshy weather effects. Fucking annoying things: Clipping some debris you couldn't reasonably be expected to avoid, crashing out, respawning right in front of a wall so that you crash out again, respawning, then having fourteen other drivers smash into you. There's a game almost as good as Split/Second in here but it's difficult to see it sometimes.
07/04 - Resistance 3 (PS3) - A patchwork of ideas from better games, with no deeper, core mechanic tying everything together. It's unmemorable to say the least. Story is corny and it seems a shame to go the post-WWII alien invasion route and then smear everything in brown, dim lighting, but whatever. It's also startlingly low-res, which isn't something I tend to notice too much. Guns are fun enough, though, and it's mindless in an enjoyably '90s kinda way.
06/04 - The Walking Dead Season 2 (PS3) - I get the feeling the writers settled on having Clem as the protagonist before really figuring out how it would work. Too often the adults around her are asking her to resolve problems that I find difficult to imagine a child understanding. It's kinda uncomfortable in places, like when she's blamed for someone's death unfairly. and not in a way that seems intentional. Episodes feel shorter and even less interactive than before, too.
02/04 - The Last of Us (PS3) - I've not really thought too much of Naughty Dogs games, generally, but found this frighteningly absorbing. It's not the deepest thing mechanically, but it is coherent and balanced in its combat in a way that makes every encounter thrilling. Everything to be said about characters and plot is said better elsewhere, but I'll say that the pacing of plot and the ebb and flow of suspense and relief was just about perfect. Probably my favourite third person action-adventure since Resi 4.
13/03 - Guardian Heroes (360) - It's still the greatest of its kind by a long way. Everything about it just has that Treasure magic, from music and animation to, well, everything. The remix mode makes some decent changes, though I couldn't bring myself to use the nasty sprite filter they included. Was lovely revisiting this, though.
12/03 - The Cave (360) - Nice enough adventure-puzzle-platforming thing. The actual puzzles are enjoyable in a simplistic way, and flirt with adventure game logic without too much of the illogical nonsense of old. It's very underwhelming in terms of presentation and writing, though, given the heritage.
10/03 - Catherine (360) - Captivating to the the extent that it surprised me. The narrowed scope on one guy's commitment anxiety and its crazed manifestations plays really well given the initially bizarre combo of chat and block puzzling. The only real criticisms I have are that it needed a better training mode to practice the 'techniques' and the controls can be pretty awkward. Really solid dub as well for the English version and it looks neatly stylish.
09/03 - Papo & Yo (PS3) - A game of measured, clear puzzles and platforming in an interesting little world. I'm always happy when developers play around with abstractions of the game space, so this kept me pretty happy throughout. The ending is a little over-egged but I appreciate the more personal nature of the story than what we usually get. Another little treat from PS+.
06/03 - Thief (PS3) - You can see that they wanted to take some of the template of Human Revolution and apply it to another old PC series, but it doesn't work here. There are neat little ideas and systems but they don't come together in a coherent whole. Though the stealth is often satisfying in a simplistic way, the actual thievery boils down to cupboard searching in most instances and the AI isn't much fun to play about with. There are also loads of naff horror-ish 'visions' as well, which are pretty much the lamest things in AAA games of late. That said, it looks pretty nice even on PS3, and they did a good job of making you feel like someone with a body, rather than just arms floating around in front of the camera.
03/03 - LittleBigPlanet 2 (PS3) - Played through the story mode and tried some of the more popular community levels. The story is more a demo of the potential of the level editor, though it's craftily inventive at times. The cumbersome control you have over Sackboy is still present, which is a shame, but it's an enjoyable, ambitious game.
02/03 - Here and There Along The Echo (PC) - A kind of radio play interlude to Kentucky Route Zero, featuring a phone that only dials one number. Gently, weirdly comic and enjoyable tactile to play around with. Will Oldham does the voice acting, which is just perfect, really.
02/03 - Killzone 3 (PS3) - The whole 'genocide LOL' thing is a bit weird and the Space Zyklon gun that makes people explode is never explained at all, but I enjoyed the story of this in a dumb, almost Warhammer 40k kinda way. Actual gunplay is still brutal, heavy and lacking in any kind of depth or finesse, but the game throws enough variety in the way to keep things interesting for a few hours. It does feel like Guerilla are coasting, though.
28/02 - Dead Island (360) - Couldn't bring myself to finish the last few quests, but I'm counting it anyway. Occasionally dreadful atmosphere (in a good way), a laudable variety of environments and meaty melee combat can't disguise the fact that the actual gameplay doesn't change at all throughout the game. There's no development and it lacks a compelling enough feedback loop or plot to pull me through. It's just hitting guys the same way until they fall over.
25/02 - The Wolf Among Us Season 1 (360) - Restarted the whole thing after pausing mid-season about a year ago. Really enjoyed it for what is was; a fun noir with a cute premise. Didn't reach the emotionally engaging heights of The Walking Dead but it did keep me pretty gripped throughout. Optimistic for the next season.
25/02 - SSX (360) - Not finished at all, as I couldn't be bothered to put more than a few hours in. Hated it. Try hard extreme-bro presentation, naff cutscenes and utterly charmless characters. Loathsome, wooly controls and difficult to read slopes that seem throw you off the side to your doom with little warning. Nothing of the joyful arcadey flow of the old games. Urgh.
23/02 - TxK (Vita) - Played sporadically over the last few months. It's lovely to behold and clearly well crafted, but just didn't hook me like I thought it would. Something missing, I guess.
23/02 - Tearaway (Vita) - Marvellous. Just relentlessly throws ideas in front of you, lets you mess around a bit and then moves onto the next lot. It's a perfect demonstration of what creative teams could be doing with the console given the chance. Presentation is sometimes a bit twee ukulele bollocks but never too irritating.
22/02 - Super Stardust Delta (Vita) - Ports the experience well to the handheld, though I had to avoid the touch and motion controls where possible (at least they included the option). Much the same as the PS3 version, really, but that's no bad thing.
20/02 - Luftrausers (Vita) - Thrilling, smart and sharp little blasts of aerial action, using a construction sets of pixel ship parts and a lovely sense of 2D flight. Totally thrilling when you scrape through an intense battle, taking out blimps and battleships in a arc of carnage.
18/02 - Surge Deluxe (Vita) - Tries to use the Vita well and is nicely presented, but this block puzzler completely fails to raise the intensity or the pulse. It's boring more than anything, sadly.
16/02 - Woah Dave (Vita) - Dull, below par Super Crate Box kinda thing that held my attention for less than an hour. Finished as I've seen everything it can do.
16/02 - Wipeout 2048 (Vita) - Mind-bogglingly beautiful, refined future racing with a sensible structure for the handheld. I played this for about ten hours straight on a sleeper train/plane combo across China. If it's the last Wipeout it'll be a fitting farewell.
14/02 - DmC: Vergil's Downfall - Kinda rote DLC, really. Cheap looking animated cut scenes and a naff script don't help, and there's little new added at all. Disappointing.
13/02 - Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet - Fun little twin-stick, kinda light Metroidvania thing that I found surprisingly atmospheric. Really nice sound design throughout. Communicates everything wordlessly yet clearly and when it runs out of ideas it ends neatly.
12/02 - Dragon's Dogma (PS3) - Bombed fifty hours into this in ten days, which is unheard of for me these days. Adored it. There are minor annoyances, but the adventuring and combat is so damn thrilling throughout. Some will find it bland but I found the art style and world to be of a kinda fundamental fantasy that I find appealing in its simplicity.
02/02 - Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea Episodes 1 & 2 (PS3) - The first episode was too predictable and similar to the main games to be of much note, but I enjoyed the second's foray into stealth, something which Infinite-proper had flirted with briefly and abandoned. Story-wise it seemed too desperate to tie up the loose ends in a Lucas-prequel kinda way, but nothing that caused any major damage in my opinion.
22/01 - DmC: Devil May Cry (PS3) - A divisive game, but one that I felt elegantly adapted the combat and controls of previous games, layered on some genuinely arresting visuals and a plot that was silly in a way that remained interesting. Probably too easy on the default setting but I really, really enjoyed this.
20/01 - Saints Row IV (360) - Hated the opening few hours of this, due mostly to the weak training exercises disguised as missions that have you backtracking repeatedly. It's clearly padded-out DLC throughout, but there's enough of the Prototype-ish chaos to entertain in the most part, and the main quest missions are consistently fun.
15/01 - Crysis 3 (PS3) - Played the second, more linear, game a while back. This one attempts to be a bit more open and succeeds in places, but really funnels you through others. Plot and some of the later environments are hackneyed nonsense, but the bow is fun.
13/01 - Crysis (360) - Lovely open environments in which to piss about, with a thin enough story to keep things ticking along without being a nuisance and a solid set of skills and weapons. Good stuff. Enemies are hawk-eyed little shits, though, able to spot you from a mile off.

2014

October 24th: Borderlands 2 (360) - Really loved this, even playing it solo throughout. I found the original a little undercooked, a little repetitive, but this one just kept throwing fun in front of the player constantly. Some of the quests are blatant padding, the vehicle handling is pretty horrible and once again I could do without the nerdy 'reference' humour, but generally found this really compelling.
October 10th: Heavy Rain (PS3) - I actually really enjoyed the first half of Beyond: Two Souls until it flew off the rails. This one goes the opposite way and does its best to recover from an abysmal, embarrassing opening. I can see what this was trying to do and I'm actually quite keen to see how these narrative experience evolve, but I found most of this poorly written, directed and generally quite boring.
October 3rd: Joe Danger (Vita) - Has a nice, tactile, compulsive feel to it. Shame it only really presents a challenge when going for the pro medals. Individual standard medal challenges just feel like going through the motions, and the scoring system feels too easy to exploit.
September 30th: Frobisher Says (Vita) - Been dabbling with this and the DLC since getting a Vita and it's fun enough for what it is. Basic Warioware-style micro-games that use the Vita's various functions.
September 28th: Resident Evil 6 (PS3) - An absolute mess of a game, but I still managed to get through every campaign. Not sure why, really, other than that I used to adore Resident Evil games. So many poorly implemented and pointless excursions into QTE setpiece nonsense. Capcom need to take a long hard look at what made this series enjoyable, because they've lost their way. Reminds me of Lost Planet 2's bloat and general inability to execute its ideas in anything other than a frustrating, awkward fashion.
September 24th: Puppeteer (PS3) Reminded me a lot of Dynamite Headdy. A solid, enjoyable and lovingly presented game. It's well behind recent Rayman games and Nintendo's stuff in terms of pure platforming, but all the mechanics tie together pretty well. Shame the head-swapping gimmick is really superficial.
September 24th: Proteus (PS3) - Was wandering around, finding this nice enough but a bit underwhelming and then it suddenly started to give me the damn shivers. Weirdly atmospheric in a way that's hard to describe, so I won't.
September 21st: Grand Theft Auto V (PS3) - Nothing to say that hasn't been said a million times. It's the sheer detail and craftmanship of it that impresses, really. It's still struggling with the controls and I wish you could grab people/objects and have more physical interactions with the world, but it never felt truly lacking. Worth the money just for the radio stations, if you ask me. Online refuses to work here in China, unlike most PSN stuff, which is a shame.
August 1st: God of War III (PS3) - Aside from a few spectacular, stand-out boss fights, this may as well have been PS2 game. The combat is functional but dated, the graphics are nice but feel very much like looking at an elaborate diorama, and there's a frustrating amount of padding. Maybe I'll prefer Ascension.
July 27th: Killzone 2 (PS3) - Paint-by-numbers FPS. Looks impressive for a game that's about six years old now, but does absolutely nothing interesting. Shooting is solid enough, AI is fine, but it's bafflingly mediocre for a big budget first party title. Why is the level design so pedestrian? Why is the player character so short? Why would anyone care about this game?
July 22nd: Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception (PS3) - Found the first few hours of this really weak. Treacle-paced and fragmented, with loads of weak puzzles and tepid action sequences. If this series is going to be a linear spectacle it may as well do it with some gusto, which thankfully it starts to do in the latter half. The things I disliked in the first two games are all there, though. Armoured-up bullet sponges, poorly designed arenas, wooly aiming, auto climbing. The fact that Naughty Dog persist with the whole running-into-the-camera nonsense is fucking ridiculous, too. It's all nicely presented, though, I'll give it that.
July 15th: Alan Wake's American Nightmare (360) - It's not bad, but the story mode felt a bit lifeless and lacking in challenge. The excuse for tracking through the same environments three times felt flimsy and clichéd, and it failed to evoke the creepiness of Wake's main game. Arcade action mode seems fine but having to unlock weapons through the campaign collectathon turned me off.
July 11th: Motorstorm RC (Vita) - Furiously addictive little game. Wish it didn't dangle DLC stuff in your face all the time but it's no biggie. Rinsed through the main game and will eventually get around to doing everything, but I'm done for now.
July 3rd: LocoRoco (PSP) - A few hours of squishy-squashy joy. I have no problem with games that are tactile audio-visual delights more than they are mechanically deep. The flaws are there in the controls, which I found myself fighting during the more fiddly platforming sections, and the idea of replaying every level over and over to collect everything fills me with dread, but as a one-shot playthrough it was a lovely.
June 30th: Muramasa Rebirth (Vita) - Beautiful-looking and frequently thrilling game with solid combat mechanics. The story is weak but the translators have done their best with what was given to them, with some genuinely surprising and funny lines.
June 26th: Sound Shapes (Vita) - Found it a bit of a disappointment, really, but that might be my own fault. I thought the music would respond to the way I played, but really it's just triggering stuff in a linear way. That's fine but not terribly exciting. It does look and sound bloody lovely, though. The Jim Guthrie/Superbrothers levels are particularly wonderful. Level editor seems pretty decent and the community have made some nice stuff, I just don't have time for all that is all.
June 21st: Pixeljunk Shoter Ultimate (Vita) - A well-balanced, varied game that surprised me with how many little ideas it had. The fluid physics are impressive, while the visuals are simple but appealing and very readable. The only major issue was that sometimes an enemy would fly into me from the side of the screen with no warning, just as I was about to finish a level. Great game, though.
June 15th: Gravity Rush (Vita) - A beautiful little gem of a game. It doesn't do anything outrageously new, nor does it do everything perfectly, but it's one of the few open world-ish games in recent years that's captivated me enough to finish all the side quests. I dunno how long I spent just shifting around the city, freefalling and catching myself at the last minute. It's so relaxing. Made with love, this one.
June 14th: Hotline Miami (Vita) - Played this ages ago on my laptop, but it buggy as fuck. This was much better, and surprisngly well suited to the Vita's controls. It's just ridiculously satisying kicking down doors and fucking up everyone's day, and in such a perfectly gross, bleary, nauseating world.
May 24th: Prototype 2 (360) - The pinnacle of the smash-the-crap-out-of-everything open world games, at least as far as I've played. Takes the template of the first, fixes some of the frustrations like being attacked from off screen all the time and lets you run riot. Story is bobbins but it rattles along at a fair clip so it hardly matters. Surprisingly good looking, too.
May 20th: Asura's Wrath (360) - QTEs annoy the shit out of me when they're thrown into the likes of Halo 4 for no particular reason, but often find myself letting it go if the game is built around them. I had a lot of time for From Software's Ninja Blade and this isn't too dissimilar, really. Basic action game scrapping, big QTEs and dumb set pieces. It's a flawed curio for sure, but there's something hilarious about millions being spent on this barely interactive vanity project in which a a man has a hissy fit every three minutes and punches everything to bits.
May 19th: Rock of Ages (360) - A decent game, but one that needed a bit more work to really make the most of the concept. I always felt too rushed to strategise in any meaningful way between rounds, so I'd end up randomly chucking towers around so I could get the next boulder rolling. Still, it's unique in its presentation and I had a few hours of fun with it. Not too shabby at all.
May 10th: Kentucky Route Zero: Act III (PC) - It's just so eerily evocative of... something. One of the few games with a genuine sense of mystery to it. All you really do is colour the story as you go through, but it's so confident in taking its time, letting you bathe in its oddness, that it doesn't matter. There's one scene in this act that is among the best I've ever experienced. Lovely.
May 8th: Syndicate (PS3) - Nowt much to do with the old games, but that doesn't bother me much. Seems like they just tacked the name on to a typical Starbreeze shooter about half way through development or something. It has that really physical brutality that they're so good at, and using the active reload mechanic from Gears as an attack is pretty neat, but it's otherwise really forgettable. Oh, and the bloom is bloody ridiculous.
May 6th: Uncharted 2: Among Thieves (PS3) - So much better than the first game it's unreal. Everything polished until it gleams, few bullshit instadeaths out of nowhere and some damn fine set-pieces. It's such a shame I find Drake one of the most repellent characters ever created, as the game seems to think he's charming or something.
May 4th: Rayman Legends (PS3) - Absolutely bloody pristine platforming. The only one in recent years that's come even close to Nintendo's best. Such a shame this seems to have sold fuck all, because it feels so well crafted.
April 29th: Saints Row: The Third (PS3) - Steamed through the story missions, couldn't be arsed with the filler. This is true of most open world games for me, these days, so it's no big deal. Though much of the zany American humour fell flat for me, I bloody loved the main missions and found the game full of so many satisfying little moments, like jumping straight off the side of the penthouse, parachuting at the last second and then bombing through the windscreen to pinch a car. Feels good, man.
April 24th: Metal Gear Solid 4 (PS3) - It's a bit of a mess, there are too many cut-scenes, too many turret sections, the bosses aren't as good as they should be and it all feels a little bit archaic BUT... I bloody love Metal Gear games.. I like tinkering with them, finding the little quirks they've included if you play around with the items and enemies. I'd take a lesser Kojima Metal Gear over your standard action fodder any day. It's really no Snake Eater, though.
April 21st: Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (PS3) - Pretty much hated the first half of this. Stiff, dull combat with the occasional bit of automatic jumping, interrupted only by something popping up and killing me out of nowhere or Drake completely failing to do what I asked. The plots not even very good, really, and I was lead to believe was quite well done. Picks up the pace a bit in the latter half but even then it felt a bit shonky. Everyone says the sequels are better though. We'll see.
March 27th: Noby Noby Boy (PS3) - Daft little toy thing, but I found myself messing around with it for way longer than expected. Rough around the edges but really charming and amusing at times. Controls are mental, though.
March 27th: Guacamelee (PS3) - Really nicely drawn and concise Metroidvania with nifty combat. Didn't really notice the difficulty spikes I'd read about, just had to watch the attack patterns of some of the later bosses. Could've done without the naff memes and games references scattered about, but you can't have everything I suppose. I had a really enjoyable couple of evenings with this.
March 25th: Flower (PS3) - Looks like a fabric softener advert and the music is occasionally a bit 'early-90s motivational video', so why is this so bloody lovely? I dunno, but it is. Relaxing in a way that games so rarely attempt, let alone achieve. Kinda wish it wouldn't grab the camera to show something happening when you're mid-'flow', but it's no biggie.
March 24th: Flow (PS3) - A pretty mesmerising experience while it lasted, and I'm glad they were smart enough not to drag it out longer than the concept deserved. Enjoyed one of the later creature that had me dashing around, gorging on other creatures in a ravenous blood-lust.
March 24th: Rain (PS3) - A simple, slight but very charming little game in which you find yourself visible only under rainfall whilst evading a seemingly immortal monster. There's nothing mechanically original about it, and the presentation is a little cloying at times, but it all hangs together very well. Reminded me of Clock Tower for some reason.
March 21st: Killer is Dead (PS3) - By the numbers Grasshopper, really, which is bit of a disappointment as I usually love their games. The combat is simple yet satisfying, but it lacks the madcap daftness of Lollipop Chainsaw and Shadows of the Damned for which I forgave those games their flaws. Here, it's disjointed action vignettes punctuated by self-consciously zany cut-scenes, when really I yearned for Killer7's pervasive weirdness. Gigolo missions seem more like clumsily executed Bond parody than works of outright misogyny they've been reported as, but are still boring and unnecessary. Bosses were mad fun, though.
March 17th: Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut (PS3) - An enjoyable game. Nice to play something that lets you play at your own pace, even if it does feel like you're faffing about when the narrative is telling you to hurry the fuck up. Mass Effect has the same problem, though. Good things: Enjoyable stealth, interesting upgrades, decent dialogue, looks pretty nice. Bad things: Bosses are shit, ropey cut-scenes, repetitive hacking and locations, meandering plot. A solid foundation for a follow up, I reckon.
March 10th: Tomb Raider (PS3) - Does so many things well yet disappoints equally. There's a better, more open and more ambitious game in there, somewhere. The entire hunting/camping/crafting side of things has little to no underlying systems yet feel like they should, while the traversal is slick but streamlined to the point of being inconsequential. Combat is satisfying due to the auto-cover and the wonderful bow and shotgun, but the arc of 'traumatised by first self-defence kill' to 'wiped out about a thousand guys because survival' feels really weird and gross. Could've done with cutting out about half of the enemies and going for more abandoned spaces. Still, the animation is lovely, I found the plot engagingly silly for most of it and the soundtrack is some primitive Einsturzende Neubauten industrial thing in places. Highs and lows.
March 5th: LittleBigPlanet Karting (PS3) - An under-appreciated game, I feel. It loses some of ModNation's more unique approach to kart racing but gains the vastly more appealing world and powerful creation tools of LBP. A fair trade, I reckon. Inherits some of LBP's woolliness in the controller response, which is a shame, but the story mode was pretty enjoyable throughout. Some really neat community levels to mess around in, too.
March 3rd: Journey (PS3) - ...aaaand from the ridiculous to the utterly sublime. A stunning work, it really is. Visually it's along the lines of Gwen, ou le Livre de Sable or some of Moebius' desert vistas, which would probably be enough for me. The fact that it's also a brilliant, brilliant game is the most wonderful bonus. The feeling of companionship you have with other players is genuine but also really difficult to explain, as is the rather odd sensation of loss when you lose someone. I won't go into more detail for fear of spoiling it, but it's one of the only games that I would consider perfect.
March 3rd: Beyond: Two Souls (PS3) - I don't really mind these narrative experiences and I thought the initial third of the game was pretty great, to be honest. Genuinely enjoyed some of the sequences in which you're on the run. Then it flies off the rails and never recovers, mostly through bad writing, but the gameplay, as flimsy as it is to begin with, never really evolves at all. Oh, and they do that thing where they put a bunch of racial caricatures in a game and then invent a country in an attempt to make it all okay. Fuck off.
Feb 28th: XCOM: Enemy Unknown (PS3) - Favourite thing I've played all year, this. Played Normal Ironman a found it just wonderfully absorbing and utterly gutting when you'd lose a long-serving squad member. A few technical problems with the camera but nothing too distracting. Heading back in soon for another run...
Feb 21st: FTL (PC) - Put about ten hours in and probably done with this. Utterly and completely absorbing while its charms lasted, but the randomness of it just wore me out after a while. Nothing wrong with it, as the brutality is the nature of the thing, but I just don't have the will continue.
Feb 21st: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 2 (360) - A bit flat and lifeless, this episode. Minimal interaction even by Telltale standards and few decisions seems to be of real consequence. Hopefully it picks up again. Still bloody love the score.
Feb 15th: Bioshock Infinite (PS3) - I loved it. It would've been nice to have a few more open arenas and a little more response from the enemies when you hit them, but I don't get the harsh criticisms of the combat. Swinging around on the skyrails was endless fun, bounding off and chucking some vigors all over the shop I found some of the old ultra-violence a bit off, but it's a small matter. More than anything I admire its ambition, and Levine done good in my book.
Feb 11th: Metro: Last Light (PS3) - I absolutely loved this, if for nothing other than the atmosphere and sense of place. I do have a weakness for grim Russian apocalypses and atomic mysticism, though. There are faults, like the overpowered stealth, linearity and abundance of supplies, but it all came together well. Would appreciate more freedom to wander the surface in a follow-up. Here's hoping.
Feb 8th: Remember Me (PS3) - A game of linear traversal and simple, satisfying combat. Punctuated nicely by the memory remixes, which were interesting even though they failed to live up to their potential. Other than that, I enjoyed the story, found it looked spectacular throughout and thought it had some neat ideas (like the customisable combo strings).
Jan 29th: Ghost Recon: Future Soldier (360) - The story was jingoistic rambling nonsense, and half the game felt like a tutorial for multiplayer or something, but it perked up once it let you have some freedom. Nice to see a game that accommodates different strategies, if only in certain sections.
Jan 27th: Shoot Many Robots (360) - Abandoning this but I kinda consider it finished as I've almost certainly seen everything it has to offer. Generic 2D run-and-gunner with an admirable number of levels and upgrades but a woeful lack of variety throughout. Boring.
Jan 27th: Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon (360) - A somewhat confused but heartfelt 80s pastiche. I reckon I'd have preferred it if they'd played it straight, to be honest. Could've done without the lazy internet meme humour, too. Enjoyed the boosted pace and lack of fall damage but wish they hadn't walled-off the bases as it seemed to limit the ways in which you could approach them. Feels like an idea that could be better fleshed out with a sequel, though.
Jan 27th: You Will Die Alone At Sea (PC) - Spend a minute floating in a red wireframe ocean, doing nowt. I have a fair tolerance for pointless indie curios but this does nothing and says nothing. At least has the decency to so succinctly.
Jan 25th: The Wolf Among Us: Episode 1 (360) - An intriguing story, remarkably well executed visually, with a neatly understated synth-pulse of a score. I was bound to like this. I see the recent Telltale games more like choose-your-own-adventure books than the point-and-clicks of the past, and enjoy them on those terms. Besides, I always hated the obtuse puzzles of most adventure games so I'm glad those are out.
Jan 24th: Spec Ops: The Line (360) - By-the-numbers gameplay that disguises (or allows for) a surprisingly subversive take on the strange appeal that video game conflict has to so many. Or at least, that's how I read it. The execution is a little uneven but it's encouraging to see a big budget title try to tackle these things.
Jan 18th: Castlevania: Lords of Shadow - Mirror of Fate HD (360) - Not a bad take on the 2D Castlevania formula. Having three playable characters might have been more interesting if they'd had significantly different weapons and move sets, and I wish they'd gone with the art style in the cut-scenes, but the combat was pretty decent. Story is too boring to mention in any detail.
Jan 14th: Deadlight (360) - This has possibly the worst writing and voice acting I've encountered in a long, long while, along with too much trial-and-error bullshit and inexplicably unresponsive controls. The last one isn't too much of an issue when the game lets you move around at your own pace, but once it starts expecting you to perform flawlessly at speed the game falls apart. A shame because there's a decent contemporary Flashback-style platformer in there, somewhere.
Jan 14th: Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (360) - Curious little game with some neat, simplistic ideas coming and going before outstaying their welcome. Wasn't convinced the storytelling was much more than a generic mishmash of over-familiar fairy tales, but it was enjoyable enough.
Jan 13th: Halo 4 (360) - Really, really enjoyed this, but I always enjoy Halo. Nothing drastically different and sometimes there's nothing wrong with that. I had certain problems with the Prometheans, as I always seemed to end up fighting them in much the same way, but nothing that can't be ironed out in the next one.
Jan 6th: Outland (360) - Love the animation and fluidity of movement in general. Probably could've done with a heavier emphasis on the Metroidvania side of things and I almost lost patience with the final boss, but a solid, enjoyable game.
Jan 4th: A Dark Room (Browser) - Finished in the sense that I got bored of waiting for something interesting to happen. Not even sure if there is an ending. I'm not averse to text-based games but there are better uses of my time than watching numbers go up, waiting for a smidgen of revealing information somewhere down the line.
Jan 3rd: Night Rider Turbo (Browser) - Basically EnviroBear 2000: Operation Hibernation with an 80s vibe. Pretty funny for a few minutes.
Jan 2nd: Peggle Nights (360) - It's more Peggle. Nowt more to add, really.
Jan 2nd: I Am Alive (360) - It tried hard, but ended up being a pretty hollow experience. Archaic in most areas and the combat never really lived up to its potential. I liked that climbing actually a required a bit of thought and effort, though.
Jan 1st: Dishonored (360) - Beautiful, fascinating and a bit flawed. Felt it gave you a vast arsenal of stuff for a chaotic play-through but was lacking interesting stealth options. Probably still one of my most enjoyed games of recent years.

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